I am my father’s daughter.
We both like mustard on our hamburgers. We used to eat pickles and fried beans together when I was younger, and we both are sarcastic to the extreme. Neither of us knows how to watch our mouths and when we lose our tempers, there’s no going back. It’s strange because when I am out alone with my mother, people often exclaim at our similarities. “You have her eyes,” people say. “Your chins are very much alike.” But compare me to the picture sitting on our living room cabinet, the one of my twelve year old father in a bow tie, and you would swear we were twins. My father is going on sixty, and I on fifteen, and at times, I love him more than anyone. But he is also the person who has, in my almost fifteen years of life, made me cry the most.
Sometimes, I wish I wasn’t my father’s daughter.
He drinks. And smokes too, even though he hides it from me and tries to cover up the tang of smoke that so often fills the air. He yells at me too often, and my mother too. His temper is the sea, raging at one moment and calm the next. In my eyes, to him I am the child that cries too much. The girl who hates math, who talks back, who says the wrong things at the wrong times. He has never hit me, but every yell, every curse thrown in my direction is a slap to the heart. In my eyes, I don’t think he has ever been truly proud of me. He yells at me when my computer doesn’t work, and to him, everything is always my fault. He is a military veteran who can be called disabled, but when things that I want, that I need, interrupt his daily schedule of walking the dog too late and cooking dinner, they are ‘too much damn trouble.’ I can’t count on my two hands the number of times I have started a conversation with my father and it has ended with me fleeing for sanctuary to the confines of my bedroom.
I’m afraid that when I’m finally ready to do something with my life, he won’t be there to see it. I am scared that the things I want from him I will never get, because he was too irresponsible with his life and won’t be there to see me live mine.
People often talking about living in someone’s shadow, about their life being a broken record of someone else’s. I am my father’s daughter, but I will never let his faults become mine. I will live my own life. I will make better choices than he did. But even though I’ll never be his shadow, he will always be my sun.