Mirror Images: Dads and Daughters

Dad studied my face for a moment. “You have my eyebrow,” he exclaimed. He was, of course, referring to the one unmanageable eyebrow that stuck out in places where no eyebrow was supposed to go. (I have since learned to control it.) “Only yours is your right eyebrow, and mine is my left,” he observed. “It’s like looking in a mirror!”

What do eyebrows have to do with the way dads and daughters relate? Maybe nothing. And maybe everything. Dad remarked that looking at my face was like looking in a mirror. As we know, mirrors turn everything backwards. Dads and daughters can seem to have a lot in common, but often they look at life with two very different perspectives. If someone were to tell you both to “go right,” you might find yourself drifting away from your dad simply because your two different minds have opposite opinions on which direction “right” is.

I experience this with my dad a lot. I love him. I really do. And most days, I thoroughly enjoy his company, but there are some places we simply don’t connect. (Seriously, algebra lessons were torture.)

So how does one overcome these “backward” struggles? You find a safe place that you can connect.

I relate to my father in carpet warehouses. Not because I am particularly fascinated by carpet, but because it was the one place I could have Dad all to myself. When I was young, I would sometimes be the lucky child selected to make “the drive” into Columbus with Dad. I’d climb into the van feeling very important, and we’d head off to pick up some things for his next job.

Usually, this was followed by a trip to Galyan’s (Dad’s favorite sporting goods store). He even took me there on my 13th birthday because, although he asked me if there was something I’d rather do, dads simply don’t belong at the mall. So to Galyan’s we went, and as he browsed the tents and other camping supplies, I stayed by his side and played with the brand new ring on my finger – the one he had given me as a reminder of our shared love as father and daughter.

A carpet warehouse, a sporting goods store, and a daddy with his daughter. Once I got older, I even figured out how to work in a bite of Chinese. (Hey, if I’m going to meet him on his turf, he can certainly step over to mine every once in awhile. Besides, I think I actually  taught him to like oriental cuisine.) This was our special place. That world in which we connected. And to this day, the smell of brand new carpet brings a smile to my face. It smells just like my daddy.

Where do you connect with your dad? Leave a comment and share your story!