Although I wrote Mothering Mother, in truth, I’m a Daddy’s girl. I have a theory: we unconciously sort people into good-guy/bad-guy categories. Heroes and villians populate our worlds. The problem is most people are neither.
Daddy was my hero. I was adopted when I was four years old and he was fifty-eight. That’s quite an age span, but I didn’t mind. I didn’t know how old Daddy’s were supposed to be. He was the first man knew that was good and sweet and dependable. Daddy was big–in height, weight, and spirit–and I knew he could protect me. For me and all that had already happened before Iwas adopted, protection was paramount.
Daddy was patient with a rambunctious, smart-alec kid. We had watermelon contests in the summer and he taught me how to fish. I played in his rose garden and ate his homemade pear preserves. He taught me how to play baseball and he never got up from his lawn chair to do it. He read the paper each night, and I stood behind his Lazy Boy chair and pin-curled his silver hair while Walter Cronkite dolled out the nightly news. And he never complained. He loved peanut butter, homemade poundcake and anything ab0ut World War II.
Daddy died fifteen years before Mother and although he’s been gone 25 years. I tell our stories. And I miss him every day.
In many ways, I cared my mother because I knew wanted and needed me to. In a way, I was caring for him.