The other day, I took a drive out to my parents' house in the suburbs.
As I sat down to a plate of my mom's cooking, Dad snuck off with my car (Gus) for a short while. Eventually, he joined us at the table and we went on with dinner.
I didn’t realize what my Dad had done in that window of time until I drove home and looked at the dashboard.
My gas tank was all the way full. Dad had gone out to fill it up, even though I never asked for it.
I was touched and grateful for the gesture, of course. But I can’t say I was surprised.
Since my sister and I were little girls, we could always count on our Dad to spoil us.
When we fell asleep watching TV downstairs, he’d carry us to our bedrooms at night. Our mom would scold,“You’re too big to be carried. Your dad will throw out his back.”
But Dad never complained. Even when I was fake sleeping.
Right after college, my Roommate, S.Anne, asked me to be the maid of honor in her wedding. On the day we agreed to shop for bridesmaid dresses, I planned to drive three hours to meet the girls in S. Anne’s hometown.
Dad volunteered to ride with me, just so I’d have company. On the way there, I told him I couldn’t believe he was willing to give up the day to be in a car.
“Hey,” he said. “You should never put a measure on the things you’ll do for the people you love.”
Maybe this all sounds really sappy, but there’s a point to my nostalgic rambling. Lately, I’ve been thinking about my Dad’s consistent doting, and I wonder:
Have I been unrealistically looking for a man who will treat me as well as my father?
They always say that women tend to look for guys like their dads.
But how could there possibly be a man who literally never gets mad at me; who laughs at all my dumb jokes; who would drop whatever he’s doing to do what I wanted?
I know I’ve been so lucky to have such an amazing father, and that there really is nothing to be complaining about here.
Except that I think I may now have a messed up view of what I should expect from a partner.
Because, really, how could I ever expect a strong, successful man to have nothing going on but thoughts of me? Who am I to expect a guy to think I’m perfect, when obviously, no one is?
I brought this up to my friend McConnell the other day, and she said she’s had similar thoughts. She, too, is Daddy’s Little Girl.
She said the way she’s made peace with the topic is this: we can’t be looking for guys who treat us like our Dads, because Daddy/daughter love is totally different from man/wife love.
McConnell said she thinks it’s smarter for us to look for someone who is a great partner, who may potentially love a future daughter in the way that we know well.
I think that sounds about right.
I’m happy to report that I’m now dating a pretty great guy, someone who definitely comes as close to treating me like Dad as anyone I’ve ever experienced.
But if there are days he’s not able to drop everything for me, I guess I'm going to have to cut him some slack.
And take a drive out to the suburbs.