By Anita Doberman: Lifestyles Columnist
I never thought of myself as daddy’s girl. My dad, who is a tour manager in Rome, recently went back to Italy after spending several weeks with me during my husband’s deployment. My hubby left a few days after my fourth C-section, and my parents were concerned about my situation with five children, newborn to age 6, so my dad was sent on “Operation Rescue Anita,” ORA.
At any given time, the ability to spend many weeks with my father would have been unique, especially because I live so far from family. But being alone, I found it meant even more to have someone to give practical help and emotional support, or even something as simple as actual adult conversation at the end of a long day.
My dad and I are very close and we talked a lot, not only at the end of our days but incessantly throughout, often “suggesting” to each other the right way to do things, each claiming to possess the secret to running a smooth household.
From doing household chores to driving the kids around, my dad’s help was invaluable. He did the laundry and folded clothes with extreme precision, surprisingly knowing which clothes belonged to whom – not an easy task, as it requires a thorough knowledge of cartoon characters, beyond simple sizing. He also cooked healthy food and took care of the pets, the car and anything that needed to be taken care of, including his own daughter.
Of course my dad’s efficiency has a flip side. He has his own semi-military way of doing things, which means only one way of accomplishing a task, and a difficulty seeing that way as anything but obvious. Fortunately, my dad’s discipline and hard-core approach are tempered by his enthusiasm and great sense of humor. When we disagreed on the way things should be done, as I’m not exactly a shrinking violet myself, we resolved our problems with laughter.
Our time together made me realize I can still be a daughter, even though I am a mother to several children, and the many ways in which my dad knows me and treats me so well. He knew the kind of fruit I liked – the one that is ready made and washed and packaged in cute little, overpriced plastic clamshells – and somehow put it in my fridge almost every day. Even though he constantly watched sports, he made an effort to sit through “Grey’s Anatomy” with me, although he mostly slept through it only to happily grab the remote when it was over. These times together and my dad’s ability to see humor in almost anything are what I will miss the most.
When he left, I was rested, well fed and ready to take on the house again on my own. ORA was a complete success. It’s not that I couldn’t have been alone during holidays or everyday occurrences; as a military wife I have done it many times. But looking back, I treasure this precious time with my dad as a wonderful gift.
I guess I’m daddy’s girl after all.