You call me a Daddy’s Girl, like it is a bad thing. Let’s get a few things straight. First, I am a daddy’s girl. Second, I am a spoiled brat. Third, I am most definitely NOT a princess.

People in my personal like get sick of hearing me talk about my dad. They tell me I need to get over it and move on. They do not want to hear the sage advise my father gave me during my youth. Then stop asking what my parents taught me. They do not want to hear about the memories I have of him. Then stop asking about my youth. I am told that I need to grow up and learn to be an adult; to stop expecting people to take care of me like my dad did.

Newsflash!!! No one can take care of me like my dad did! No one can replace him in my life! How is it a good thing to be a momma’s boy, but not a daddy’s girl? Why is it acceptable to congratulate moms for everything they do, yet not acceptable to brag about our dads? How is it justified that we can praise dads that are weekend warriors, but not full-time dads? Why is it we can celebrate all the memories we create with our moms and proclaim they are the strongest women we know, yet I am discouraged from remembering my dad? Fact: I am proud of my dad. He was a jackass sometimes, but I am still proud of him and I love him.

Are you jealous? Are you upset because I had a dad and you didn’t? Did you have a poor relationship with your dad? Maybe it is because you have never lost your dad? Is that it? I have watched him slowly die from cancer. Slowly slip away until nothing is left but a shell. Slide into a comatose state and never wake up again. I have stood at his grave, watch the flag being folded with all the ceremony and grace allowed, then presented to my older brother with respect and honor. I have stood in the cemetery, looking upon his casket as it was lowered into the ground, with taps as the musical backdrop to my misery; a 21-gun salute as the final death blow to my heart. I have survived all of this and more.

Have you ever had your daughters ask you why they will never meet their grandpa? Ever explain that he is in heaven? Have you ever picked up the phone to call him, just to realize that he is gone and you can never call him again? Have you ever experienced the events of life that he should be there for, but he is dead? My youngest made a face at me yesterday and I laughed. “Don’t give me that look. That is your grandpa’s expression.” Then I started to cry because she will never know him and he will never give me that look again. Have you ever experienced this kind of heartache? I have.

He was a full-time dad. My mom was not in the picture. He called her, I called her, I wrote her; nothing. A bad divorce and custody battle after a nasty marriage. She made her decision to exit my life. Dad was all I had. He was both mom and dad. I hear so many single moms praising their baby daddies for stepping up on weekends or birthdays.  My dad stepped up each and every day; even while dying from cancer. He remembered my birthday, my favorite flower, my favorite cake, my favorite bookstore. No, he was not as active in my life as I wished he would have been, however, he had medical problems that prevented many things from happening. No, he did not teach me how to ride a bike, but he did watch from the window each day as the neighbor girl taught me. No, he didn’t go to parent/teacher conferences, but my teachers knew they could call him anytime. (Side note: they really, really avoided calling him as often as possible because of his temper. They decided not to give me detention on several occasions because they did not want to explain to dad why they wanted me to go to detention.)

Is your dad a war vet? Did he sit down and play Barbie’s with you when you were young?How many dads out there can say they took their daughters bra shopping? Or drove their daughters to prom? Or sat up all night at the kitchen table while their 17 year old daughter slept on the couch because she was sick? How many dads can say they suffered through the indignity of a complete makeover in public for their daughters? Years ago in beauty school I needed a model. Dad volunteered to be my model. He suffered through his hair being dyed, cut, styled, and curled. A complete facial with correct make-up application with the brightest, most garish red lipstick I could find. All of this finished off with a mani with matching red nail polish. How many fathers held their teenage daughter in their arms as she cried in fear because she found a lump on her breast? He had me into the doctor first thing in the morning and never said a word about how late I had stayed up, how much I had cried or the fact that I missed school that day. He simply held me and let me cry. It was not easy for him to do this. I had to stand next to his wheelchair and lean against his shoulder, making him twist at an awkward angle. But he never complained.

How many dads have crawled for their children? Once, I lived on the third floor of an apartment building. My oldest had colic and would not stop crying! I was sick, tired, hungry and on the verge of a breakdown. Dad came over. There was no elevator. He had to crawl up three flights of stairs on his hands and knees to reach my door. After helping him to his feet, getting him inside and sitting down, he had to take nitro for his heart and morphine for the pain. Then he clapped his hands and asked “where’s grandpa’s girl?”. She immediately stopped crying and started cooing at him. This is the same day dad realized that we had no food in the fridge and only baby food in the cupboard. My husband’s income was just not enough to support us at the time, so we stopped buying food. Dad gave me cash and his truck keys and sent me to the local drive thru. After we ate, he took me grocery shopping. This meant he had to crawl down three flights of stairs. How many fathers can say they have done the same?

Yes, I am a daddy’s girl and damn proud of it! Praise all parents who are active in their child’s life. Stop telling me you are sick of hearing about my dad. He shaped me, he helped make me the person I am today. He is the number one influence in my life, even after all these years. If you can brag about your mom, your stepdad, or the father of your own child, then I can brag about my dad. He was the only parent I ever really had. Even after meeting my mom, she was not a real parent to me.

Not a day goes by in the last 11 years that I do not think about him, miss him, wish he was here. The day he died, I lost my dad, my best friend and my closest confidant.