Daddy's Forgotten Little Girlbywife2hotblk©
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My story is so stereotypical as to be almost unbelievable. It is a psychiatrist's playground of Electra complex gone awry. Even though it would provide fodder for the best of soap opera writers, it is, I am afraid to admit, completely true. Mine is the story of the power for evil that each man holds from the moment he first sees that tiny creature that is his daughter.
It was an amazingly sunny early October evening in 1967. The leaves were just beginning to turn red and brown, but many remained a greenish-yellow in the relatively mild South Carolina autumn. I was just two and a half. My mother was seven months pregnant with my baby brother and we had all recently moved in with my great-grandmother, whom I called Nanny.
You might think that these are recollections of stories told to me by others over the past forty years. After all, psychologists argue that long term memories do not begin to form until the age of five or six. But I believe that truly traumatic events can leave clear imprints that will last a life time. I remember a great deal of that night.
I was wearing one of my favorite dresses. It was pale blue with intricate smocking and an appliquéd poodle upon the bodice. Nanny's couch was a rough woollen blend in the most horrific brown, green, yellow and orange plaid pattern; the type which would find a home in a retro shop or upon television's That 70's Show. The curtains were an equally horrid golden-green and pulled back to reveal the opaque white sheers.
My father, whom I adored as only the proverbial 'Daddy's girl' possibly could, had gone out for a packet of cigarettes. I stood on the couch and looked out through those white sheers for him to return. He never did. As the night wore on, huge tears raced down my cherubic face that would have done any Gerber or Downy advert proud. My screams of 'Daddy' filled the rapidly cooling night air and could be heard at the end of our small street. But still I stood steadfastly awaiting his return.
By morning, my green eyes were almost swollen shut. My throat was sore from screaming, and something inside my young soul was forever gone: trust in men. Some things are simply unforgettable; no matter how young you are. October 10th, 1967 was that for me.
I had though never completely given up upon the man I once loved so deeply: my biological father. Since he left in 1967, I have had four contacts with my biological father; each more traumatic than the last. After the last one almost a decade ago, I have learned my lesson. I have not and would not subject myself or my children to this man.
I can admit he gave me some good genes as I get my intelligence and looks from him; and he has aged very well. But I now believe that he actually did me a favour when he left. Does it hurt writing this? Not as much as it would once have, but I don't think the loss of a parent ever really goes away, even if he was not a very good one. I also feel that when that loss is a father's love for his daughter; it is certain to effect how we relate to other men in our lives. It certainly has in my life. My disastrous fourteen year marriage, equally horrific re-bound relationship and two-hundred and fifty four assorted lovers are a testament to the pain that was the result of my father's desertion.
After four decades of hurt and introspection, is my life perfect now? Have I forgiven my sperm donor and moved on to have a successful marriage? Some days, I think so. Then something happens and I once again feel like that same insecure little girl; standing on the back of that couch and crying for a man that will never return. But then again as a woman, I wonder was that man ever real? Or was he simply a little girl's dream of what daddy should be?
The truth is that we all have problems and struggles in life, but I do firmly believe from my experiences that the unconditional love and acceptance of her daddy can equip little girls to better face those challenges as women. I did not have that and have struggled more than most as a result. But in the daddy-daughter hugs and kisses that I am privileged to observe each night with my new husband and youngest daughter, some tiny part of my soul heals a little more and I feel some measure of hope for the future; hers and mine.