For as long as I can remember, I've been a Daddy's girl. When I was younger, I wanted to spend a lot of time with him. As I got older, I confided things to him (though not everything). And now that I'm a parent, I go to him for advice.
He influenced me in so many ways. He got a computer back in 1980 or so, a TRS-80, Model I. When I got a bit older (maybe 3rd or 4th grade?), he let me create simple DOS programs on it. He let me play one of the cassette games that we had for it. I've never stopped being crazy for computers.
He was a big reader, and he's instilled that in me as well. I remember after he had his first back surgery. I was volunteering at our (very small) town library for a Girl Scouts patch. He'd ask me to bring him a book home to read. Me, wanting to please him, went through every book in the Sci-Fi section and looked at the cards to see if I saw my father's name on it. If he hadn't checked it out, I put it in a pile to bring home. I think I brought home 21 books that time. And he read them all.
When I was a little girl, he used to let me sit on his lap and "steer" the car up the driveway. His hands were always close by in case I did anything that wouldn't have been too healthy. He let me hang around the service station that he owned. It was one of my favorite playgrounds, in part because he was there.
My parents separated when I was in 5th or 6th grade. Daddy was close by for awhile, first living in my aunt and uncle's camper, then renting a small apartment off of someone's house. My sister and I would spend the night occasionally. I loved having the time with my Daddy. I remember one time when he was trying to change a battery in a smoke alarm (I think it was), and he'd grabbed an unstable chair. He fell and knocked himself out. We didn't have 911 in our town at that time and I couldn't remember the emergency number. So I tried calling my mom and my aunt. Their phones were busy. I kept trying to call until I finally got through. I stayed calm through all of this, and only when I knew Daddy was safe did I freak out.
I was devastated when he moved to Florida. I couldn't wait for the summers when he'd drive up in a camper to pick us up and we'd make stops on our way back. I loved our stop in Washington DC. When I was in 9th grade, I moved to Florida to live with him and my step-mom.
From my second year there, my step-mom and I ran into problems. I thought she was too strict about things and she thought I was being a brat. We were probably both right. I would talk to my Dad when things got really rough and he'd understand. Sometimes, he'd let me do things that my step-mom had previously said no to.
Even when I was on my own, he was there for me. Once he drove 2 hours to find out what was wrong with my car, only to find out I was out of gas (I had a broken gas gauge. I can be excused for that, can't I?) He helped keep my secret when I continued dating the guy that was no good for me. He helped dry my tears when things went bad with this guy, and didn't give up on me when I went back to him.
Daddy's always been there for me, and I try to be there for him. He and my step-mom moved from Florida to Tennessee. At the time, it was a pretty central location for all of us kids - I was in TN, my sister was in NY, my oldest step-brother was in WI and my other step-brother was in Florida. But he was close to me again, and that meant the world to me. While they were trying to sell their house in Florida, I would drive out to the new home they bought in TN to make sure everything was ok. When both my Dad and Step-Mom couldn't do it, Rich and I drove to FL to get the last of their stuff. I tried to be there for Daddy after Suzy (my step-mom) passed away.
And just like Daddy did for me when I was a teen, I listen when he needs to rant a bit. I try to give him the good advice that he's given me. I try to help whenever he needs it (he's got a lot of back problems and hasn't been able to walk without aide of a walker or cane in years). I try to be as good of a daughter to him as he has been a father to me.
Because I truly love my Daddy.
Daddy holding me not too long after I came home.
Even when I was a bit older, I still wanted to be near my Daddy.
Two of the four most important men in my life - my husband and my Daddy.