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My Dad's 61st(!) birthday is coming up. I want to write a quick post about just how spectacular I think he is. I have a very unique relationship with my Dad, or "Papasan" as I call him. He has three sons, and I am his only daughter.

My outside-looking-in, older-now-self, can say that my Dad's solid and consistent presence throughout my life is what has shaped my having a strong internal focus of control. This is to say, I don't have "daddy issues." I've never been a jealous girl. I've never been a push-over or easy girl. I tend to have a good perspective on things & eventually let the rough stuff roll off my back.

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He is the person I call when I know I need a good shaking back to reality. I can still hear him saying to me at one of my lowest points: "Buck up! You're a Bartley." (Bartley being my maiden name.) If you know a Bartley, you know they can be pret.ty darn toughand stubbornand confident to a fault.

My Dad's been known to appreciate the female form, too. But, not in a chauvinistic, derogatory, or creepy kind of way. I wouldn't even realize this until I was quite a bit older, when it was more appropriate for me to be able to handle and accept his (and just about every other normal man's) perspective. I'm very comfortable in my own body, but am guarded about really showing a lot of skin myself. In other words, I'm uptight about showing off myself, but am surprisingly comfortable with others exposing (for lack of a better term) themselves. I absolutely think this is rooted in my dad reserving his comments about women's bodies when I was younger.

My dad was (and still is) a doting father. He'd say things like I should model for Nike and such, because I was lean and fierce. He always complimented my abilities and what I WORKED for. (Thanks Dad!) I never really recall him saying, "oh your hair is pretty today," ..nothing specific about my features, or my weight and height. It was always, "Hey. I like what you did with _____. " Now that I am raising my own children, I realize how powerful it is to emphasize effort and capability over things that aren't very controllable, like height, eye shape, clothes, or hair texture, etc.

I've mentioned before that I can always turn to my Dad for a good, deep one-to-one discussion about philosophy, religion, history, and government. He retired from the U.S. Army this time last year, as a full bird Colonel with the Corps of Engineers. He can think pretty abstractly and wholly. (But when it came to math homeworkI figured out that it was best to find out the answers on my own!) He's very accepting of all sorts and types of lifestyles, people, situationsI love how open his mind can be. He is not a judgemental, selfish, or jealous person in the least.

I'm not so sure my Dad really knows how deeply he's impacted my character. At one point in our lives, he was newly divorced (after about 13 years to my step-mom), my older brother was married, and my two younger brothers we're each living with their moms, respectively. The two of us we're sitting in the house, I must have been 17 or 18 at the time, and he looked and me and said, "Well, it looks like it's just the two of us again." After the divorce, my dad really had a low, rough time. It was like he was trying to find himself. He had his fair share of girlfriends and woman trying to take advantage. But through it all, I have been the only girl in his life that has seen him through all the others. It's a weird thingand I can't really explain it. It's that uniqueness that just can't be put into words.

I've seen him through a lot and he's seen me through, too. He's told me about when I was 9 months old or so, and my fever was so high, he thought he'd lose me. He's the only one in my family that was present at every major life event- including my community college graduation! He even hosted my last-minute wedding ceremony! He's filled in the gaps of my life's history that no one but he canlike, I didn't even know he and my mom divorced when I was 6 months old (I thought I was 2!). And she originally had custody of me, but then I ended up going with him. What a different life I would have had without him! It's safe to say I'd be a Mess. Yes, with a capital M.

I am so so SO fortunate to not only grow up with my dad as a constant father figure, but he's was such a great template for what to look for in husbandI had a good man to model a husband after: strong, reliable, confident, successful, kind, family-centric, open-minded & accepting Of course my husband and dad have their differences (mostly in looks!). brass tacks: they are down-right good men. Period.

Thanks Dad, you done good:)

Happy Birthday Papasan!

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Posted in Personal Development Post Date 05/25/2020