As I get older I’m constantly looking back on my life thus far trying to figure out how I got to where I am. I see many things in my life that I don’t like, but I know they make me who I am today. I used to blame my parents for a lot of my traits, but as time goes one I’m beginning to see how much they have shaped me – sometimes in bad ways, but mostly in good.
I was (and still am frankly) Daddy’s little girl. Mom told me when I was growing up that she could have basically done without having another child (don’t even get me started on that sentence) except that Dad really wanted a little girl. So… here I am. Mom suffered a few miscarriages even to have me – which I am thankful and in awe of her for.
My Dad, like a lot of men from his era, is not an emotional person. He kept to himself a lot as I was growing up and I never felt like he truly knew what to do with the little girl he had, according to my mother, always wanted. I helped Dad carry things (heavy things), I helped make deer bologna, and I did manual labor that some boys today wouldn’t dream of doing.
I even had my own chair for making deer bologna…
My standard joke is that I’m the girl Dad always wanted to make into a little boy.
I always helped with the yard work and I was taught how to swing a hammer. I can run a household by myself (although I have managed to now train my husband to take care of me so I rarely have to actually do any manual labor…pretty sure I got that from Dad too. He was training me for years to do his work.)
I used to say that I got everything from my mother: my stress and worry habits, my lack of sleep habit, and my high anxiety. As I get to know both my parents better as an adult I realize: nope, that came from Dad.
But I’ll say this: I’m tough. And my Dad made me that way. I learned that if you wanted it done right to do it yourself (if I couldn’t get Dad to do it for me of course… it is what little girls are known for – wrapping their Daddy around their fingers…) I don’t take crap from most people and I don’t let people who abuse me hang around. Just like my Dad.
He has a pretty good temper like I do, but when he makes a friend he makes it for life. I tend to do that too (when treated right.) My Dad is a master carpenter as well – I’m pretty sure most of my creativity came from him. (Although Mom is a master crocheter.)
I remember growing up and drawing on anything I could get my hands on. My parents both would say “We have no idea where she gets it from!” I always felt proud that I stood out and had my own talent. Now that I’m older I see that, in fact, I got it from them. They are both very talented people.
Right now I’m working with my Dad on a construction project for our church and I can see my own thoughts in the way he thinks. He’ll often make suggestions that I’ve also thought of and we both like things done a certain way. (Although I am much more OCD and anal about symmetry – that must come from Mom.) Plus, Dad and I can sit for hours and discuss a project like this one. It’s just the details that we love.
As the years have gone on I’ve begun to realize – it’s Dad I take after a lot more. He’s the anxious one – the one who always waited up for me, even when I was away at college. The one who likes things done just so. He’s the one who can’t sleep. He’s the parent who really likes to cook and the one who loves animals the way I do.
I’m so glad to call him my Dad and so glad that I’m like him in so many ways. I wouldn’t trade it – even the bad stuff – for anything in the world to be like anyone else.
However, even if his traits live on with me, I have no idea what I’ll do when he’s gone… who’s little girl will I be then?