It’s Father’s day this Sunday, so I’ve been thinking a lot about my dad lately.
My dad and I have always had a great father-daughter relationship He’s a great man, and even though he grew up in a house full of boys he’s still able to talk to his daughters without making me feel like he wished I was a son ;)
Our dynamic has changed a bit now that I’ve moved out of the house, though, and I’m growing up into more of an adult. I don’t see him every day, and when we do see each other it’s because I’m visiting, not living at home, so it’s not “back to normal.”
Still, though, even though I’ve moved out and am growing up, I’ve managed to keep a good relationship with my dad. There have been a few things in particular that we’ve done, though, that I think have helped keep us strong, so here are a few things that you can do to make sure your relationship with your dad is as great as it can be!
Talk to him–your father-daughter relationship hinges on communication.
I feel that it’s so easy to get out of the habit of talking to your parents when you leave home. For me, I didn’t have a problem keeping up with mom–she works from home so I used to call her all the time. My dad’s a pediatrician, so I never knew when he was on call and didn’t want to call him in the middle of something important (I’ve called him before while he was rushing in to help with an emergency, so I’ve always been a bit nervous after that).
Once you’re not living under the same roof, though, you need to create opportunities for communication, because they do not naturally spring up like if you’re both at home. I’m very lucky with my dad. I can call daddy to talk about anything–something funny Connor said yesterday, a mark that I got in class, or how stressed I am over pretty much everything.
But the fact of the matter is, none of the next points are going to work if you don’t ever actually talk to your dad. So pick up a phone and talk! Is your dad like mine, and doesn’t like the phone? Well maybe Skype! Or just have him learn how to deal with it and talk to you anyway (that’s what I did, I admit).
Daddy, Katie and me out east when we took a family trip to see my dad’s aunts and uncles. I loved those sneakers…Katie’s in the white t-shirt, I’m in the orange. Shout out to how cute I was in a mad scientist kind of way.
Realize you have to make time for him
When you’re living at home, it’s easy to spend time together. Dad can just yell, “girls, get down here. We’re playing a board game as a family because we love each other!” But when you’re living in a different city and only visit for 3-day-long increments usually, that can become a lot more difficult.
What I found was that when I started going home to visit, we didn’t plan it well around my dad’s schedule. Since he works on call shifts, if he’s at work he’s there 24/7, not like a 9-5 job. So take some time, and plan when you visit around when your dad is actually available instead of just when it’s best for your school schedule.
Then, when you are home, actually spend time together. Don’t get lazy since you’re away from school and spend the whole visit watching movies with your sister and shoving popcorn in your mouth handfuls at a time. Rather, be mindful in putting aside times where you can reconnect with your parents when none of you are busy. Show them that you love them and aren’t just coming home for the free food!
My mom and dad getting ice cream at our trip to Punxsutawney, PA! We thought the huge signs for ammo and guns were too funny, being from Canada and all. What is it with Americans and firearms?! That being said, I do have a lot of friends who hunt…
Respect him–father-daughter relationships need to be based in kindness.
At the end of the day, he’s your dad. You’re never going to have another dad, and even though he’s not a perfect dad, he is your dad.
Don’t be that girl who talks badly about her parents when they’re not there. Don’t ridicule your father or disrespect him in front of your friends, family, or anyone for that matter just because he loves birdwatching. Just because, theoretically, let’s say, he loves birdwatching and can imitate the call of over 150 species. Instead, understand that he really is a gift, and learn from his successes and his mistakes. God has placed him in your life, and that is a privilege no one else has (except for your siblings, or course).
Dad and myself at our friend’s wedding! Daddy-daughter-selfie-time!
All in all, just take time to connect with him. It’s not very difficult–yeah, your dad might be awkward on the phone or a bit gruff, but he’s your daddy and you’re still his little kid. A good father-daughter relationship is like any other relationship–it takes work to keep it going. Like my mom often says, “you can’t drift together. You only drift apart. It takes effort to stay together.”
So make the effort, because you only get one dad!
I love you, Daddy!