Fatherhood: We've got this, John Mayer

4 years ago

I refer to Tim Gunn as "Daddy."  He's so calm, encouraging, honest, patient and kind to the contestants on "Project Runway."  Just the way a father should be.  I didn't have that and am still so desperate for it at 35 that I have an unhealthy attachment to a man on a reality TV show.

My actual father typically either ignored us or was annoyed by us.  That was on good days.  He was in constant danger of exploding in rage and anything could set him off.  He once threw our crayons across the room because we were coloring too loudly.  (Just the sound of the crayons on paper.  We weren't making any sounds with our voices or giggles.)  Hearing our chewing was another big trigger.  We lived our lives walking on eggshells constantly.

I resented our mother for a long time for not removing us from that situation.  Our father was very clear that he didn't love her.  I was in middle school the first time he told me that.  My sister was in elementary school.

He moved into the shed in the backyard about that time, but that didn't make the household any more peaceful.  I woke up to my little sister screaming one morning because he was hitting her dog with a 2 X 4 because he went in the shed.  He also kicked our cats.

He was only occasionally physically abusive to us.  I never saw him hit our mother, but he frequently threw things at her.  Emotional abuse is just as real and just as devastating.

We were also frequently without basics like electricity and food because having a cookie tin filled with pot was more important to him.  People say pot addicts are calm and peaceful.  So not the case in my experience.  Pot destoryed my childhood.

Living with him was horrible and my sister and I both swore that we'd never speak to him once we were able to get out on our own.

A wonderful couple I had been close to through church since I was 11 rescued me when I was 19.  I have always referred to them as "My Fred" and "My Cindy."  It's the type of relationshp that there just isn't a proper word to convey.

They truly did rescue me.  They saved my life, though they've always thought I exaggerated that part.  I was on a bad path and saw no way out.  There was no money for college.  I had no support, encouragement or guidance.  I felt lost and that my future was hopeless.  I was making bad choices and would have destroyed my life without their intervention.  They saw that and walked into my bedroom one morning and ordered me to pack a bag because I was going home with them. I never looked back.

They built me up.  I got a job.  I started college.  I was living with them when I met Hubster. They never had children together, but referred to me as their "unofficially adopted daughter."  Fred passed away from lung cancer about ten years ago.  I was there with him when he died.  I loved him and he loved me - and showed it the way a father should.

Two years after I moved out, my father filed for divorce on my sister's 18th birthday.  He told my mom to get out.  Of course, my sis went with her.

She and I kept our promises.  Neither of us talk to him.  We do not want him in our worlds.  Princess forgets that I have a father.  She's always surprised when I mention him.

So I was pretty unlucky in the biological father department, but I was blessed to have my Fred and I was also blessed to have my father-in-law.  Neither were Tim Gunn (they were both straight and neither wore suits, for starters), but they had many of the qualities I imagine he'd possess as a dad.  I wish my Princess had been able to meet Fred and that she had more time with her Grandpa, but I'm glad Hubster and I have many memories and stories of them to share with her.

Not only did Princess have a good grandpa, she also has the best dad.  Hubster is seriously rocking fatherhood. He's totally Tim Gunn - minus the suit, passion for fashion and homosexuality.   He has high expectations for Princess and is confident she can meet them.  He understands her challenges, but doesn't let  her use them as excuses for giving up.  He's patient, loving, encouraging and honest with her always.  Plus, he's fun to be around.

Hubster tells Princess things like:

"Yes, the shot will hurt."

"Good burp!  That was a 9."

"That's bullsh*t."

And so much more.  They have long conversations and can also just be quiet together.  The flu has stolen her appetitte and he got her to eat last night when nothing I tried had worked in days.

In fact, they are so close, she shared her flu with her Daddy.  Hubster's been up coughing for the last two nights.

Hubster HATES John Mayer, but the lyrics to "Daughter" really ring true for me.  Especially,

"I'm starting to see
Maybe it's got nothing to do with me"


"Now she's left
Cleaning up the mess he made"


"On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world"

Rest assured, John Mayer, Hubster is definitely "being good" to his daughter. Oh, yeah, and I am, too.  We've got this covered.

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