After watching a very touching tribute from ESPN reporter Elle Duncan it hit me. I too have the amazing pleasure of being a daughter to a #girldad. Though I also have a brother, my dad Ken has always been a "girl dad" to me and my big sister. And I’ll explain what exactly that has meant.
My dad has worn a lot of hats throughout my life, and he has done so with pride and admiration. Firstly he is one of my best friends. I know how lucky I am to be able to say this because I had struggled with maintaining a relationship with my mom for 15 years before she passed. Throughout my rocky relationship with my mom the one thing that always remained constant was my dad. He may not always be the most affectionate and my siblings and I often joke about his frugal ways, but that man has taught me to be the best woman, wife, friend, and sister that I can be.
Our first look, I wanted to surprise my dad on our wedding day, so we did a just me and my dad shot. This is also how I will always choose to remember him throughout my life, with this smile.
As a child I was quite different from my siblings, they are athletic and fierce (and sometimes a little over the top). My dad knew I was going to be something uncommon to him. I was quiet, always hiding behind his leg, I had very little interest in traditional sports and was always more fascinated by arts and crafts. Looking back now, I can see that he never tried to change who he knew I was going to be just so I would be more like them (and himself). Instead he let my interest be mine - signing me up for swimming, dance, cooking classes and craft lessons. He made sure that I never felt pressured to conform or be like the rest fo my family.
He was always on the lookout for things that he could relate with me on and that included TV. Together we watched endless hours of American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance and of course home improvement shows (anyone remember trading spaces). He would also tape all of the red carpets so we could watch them together, because he knew how much I loved the fashion. This man, who was very much out of his comfort zone, continued to make me feel like I was a shiny human deserving to be admired.
The four of us.
Of course I got older and new interests developed and old ones faded but he never stopped trying to know and celebrate me. I truly feel that without his love and support I wouldn't have been able to get through some of my darkest moments.
I have put words to paper before about how amazing and lucky I feel to have him as my dad but one of my most favourite is of course surrounding our wedding. I had decided to save my heartfelt and of course emotional speech for our rehersal dinner. It was a very intimate group of about 15 people that we gathered for some delicious tacos, by our friends at Holy Guacamole for a more quiet moment before the busy wedding day. I saved this speech for because I knew I was likely to become a blubbering mess. Luckily it was minimal blubbering but still a few tears were shed. These are my words from that night.
"...Dad, I truly feel that God gave us you. You likely feel the other way around, but that is what makes our bond even more amazing. Your love for the three of us has never wavered, even when we have made some questionable choices. And I honestly feel like the luckiest girl because I get to have you as my dad and as a best friend. I know our relationship is special and not something every girl gets to have so thank you for always being there for me."
His first trip to see us included a lot of fog and icebergs.
Moving away from him to come to Newfoundland was one of the hardest decisions (and still is). Maybe it is the fact that we are both the youngest in our families or maybe it's just simply because I see so much of him in me, but my dad will forever be a "girl dad" in my heart.