Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dad vs. Daddy


The other day, Steve overhead the very thing that most blended family parents hope they never hear from our 7 year old:

“I love my daddy, but I don’t like my dad.”

Ugh. I hate that it was him that overheard it, and not me. She was talking with her cousins, I don’t know what about, but I know how deep those words can cut. Now, I feel ok sharing this because I know that she doesn’t really feel that way. She and Steve have a great relationship and she is always writing him notes or making pictures for him, playing and teasing with him…and one of the last texts she sent to him from her ipod was “you’re a great dad.”

Nonetheless, it hurt my heart. When I addressed it with her, I know she felt terrible, and she did confess that she didn’t really mean that and there was nothing she was upset about….but it got me thinking that perhaps she’s got her daddy on a pedestal. In fact, I think most people do. That’s kind of what happens with the dead – we elevate them to an inflated ideal of who they are, and forget the flaws (as it should be).  So I felt the need to remind her that when her daddy was alive, he did all the same things her dad does (discipline when she’s not acting appropriate, or get frustrated when she misbehaves) not because either of them are mean, but because they love her and want to make sure she grows up to be the best girl she can be. I never want my daughter to see her daddy in a bad light, because he loved her with everything he had, but I also want to remind her once in awhile that he was human. She also needed the reminder that her dad loves her and would do absolutely anything for her. 

There will be days like these. There will be days when my daughter isn't fond of me, either. But a little perspective goes a long way, and I want to make sure she remembers her daddy that same way I do....the good AND the bad. Cause that's the man I loved and the man who loved her dearly.


  1. Another possibility...she may feel guilty for liking Steve so much and saying this to her cousins was a way of saving face. The feelings of loss, love and grief are complex for us as adults; kids don't always have the words to explain their thoughts.

    1. Thank you for that perspective - I hadn't thought of that before, but it very well could be a possibility.

  2. My dad died when I was 9, and I know I idolized him. My mom never remarried, so I never had to deal with "comparing", though. It took a while for me to realize that I remembered all of the good stuff (and probably made some of it up) while forgetting the bad. I'm glad you had that talk with your daughter - hopefully it will help her know that daddy wasn't perfect (and that's okay), and that dad loves her (and that's okay, too).