When I was a little girl my dad would make my breakfast in the morning, and then patiently show me how to tie my shoelaces.
If it was winter, he would remember to leave my socks on the radiator, so that my toes would be warm when I put them on.
Every day at 3pm he would wait proudly at the school gates. I’d press my nose against the school window waiting to catch a glimpse of his slightly balding hair and big glasses.
And, when the bell would finally ring, I would run down the path and into his arms for a big hug and a kiss hello.
He’d hold my hand whilst we crossed the road, and I would chat away about all that I had learnt. He would commend my accomplishments, possibly a finger painting or a new story I’d written.
If it was his turn to make dinner, he’d always insist on a sweet treat for dessert, a tea cake perhaps, or caramel wafer. My mum would tut encouragingly.
He’d tuck me into bed promptly at 8pm but not before reading a passage or two from one of my favourite books.
I never felt unloved, never felt unimportant, never felt anything but safe and happy.
I thought all children felt this way for a very long time.
It wasn’t until my last year of primary I realised that not every girl had a father like mine.
I remember going to my friend’s house for my first ever sleep over.
I was shocked when the family started eating without their Dad.
In fact my friend’s dad didn’t come home until much later, when we were upstairs playing on her brothers Nintendo.
I heard his heavy footsteps and very deep voice through the floor, half expecting my friend to jump to her feet at any moment to greet him.
But she didn’t flinch.
“Don’t you want to say hi to your dad” I asked her.
“No” she said firmly. “He’s mean. I don't like him”.
Her words were so jarring I didn’t know what to make of them.
How could she hate her dad?
I became so curious to meet the man of the house that I made up the excuse of needing a glass of water.
My friend walked me down the stairs where we found her dad eating at the dining room table, buried behind a newspaper.
She didn’t acknowledge him as she walked by.
He didn’t acknowledge her either.
On our way back from the kitchen her dad abruptly tossed his paper to the side.
“Did you clean that hamster cage yet like I told you to?” her dad asked without looking up from his spaghetti bolognaise.
“Yes” my friend answered.
I stood there, behind my friend, just staring at her father.
What was going on here? Why wasn’t he so happy to see her? Why wasn’t he asking her about her day? Didn’t he want to know who I was?
My mind raced with questions but I didn’t dare ask any of them.
Was her father always this late for dinner? Did he usually read the paper at the table? Did he ever hug my friend? Why did she say that she hated him?
As my friend and I grew closer I learnt more about her dad and their relationship.
He was the financial director for an insurance company, a job he hated, but he also coached the local cross country team in his spare time.
He was a huge fan of field athletics and spent all of his free time training.
And of course, when she was old enough, he had encouraged his daughter to train too.
But, my friend was not athletic in the slightest.
Truthfully, she hated sports.
She was into music and art.
But her father wouldn’t hear of her quitting, in fact, if she complained too much he would ground her.
So every weekend was filled with cross country running competitions and training, which made my friend miserable.
Their relationship was not warm and loving.
It was based on fear and resentment.
Her father ruled with an iron fist, and his word was not to be challenged.
He didn’t want to know his daughter; he just wanted her to fall in line…..
So how does this fit into my dating blog? I hear you ask.
The choices you make today effect your future.
(This may be cheesy, and a tad mental, but it’s 100% true)
You may be living the life of a single girl now, but one day your role will change.
One day you may be a wife, and eventually a mother.
The man you choose for a partner, could not only potentially be your husband, but also the father to your children.
To think that far ahead is hard (and a bit out there) for some of us, but it’s important that we do.
On your journey to meeting Mr. Right, remember you’re not only choosing a man for yourself, you’re also choosing a man that has the potential to lead a family.
Anyone can father a child but it takes a real man to be a dad.
So before you commit to any guy, you must ask yourself this “what kind of father will he be?”
My friend didn’t get to choose her dad. She had no say in the relationship she was going to have with him.
She was innocently born into this family and had no power to change the way she was raised.
But her mother did have a choice.
Years ago, when they were dating, she ignored the fact that he can be cold at times.
She disregarded his moody and abrasive personality.
My friend’s mum was simply in love and wanted to get married.
Even if he wasn’t perfect, her mum thought she was strong enough to deal with her Dad’s long list of shortcomings.
But never did she think about how her daughter would handle them.
Maybe you are dating someone right now that has a bad temper. Or maybe he flakes on you whenever you really need him. Maybe he’s too cocky to show his feelings. Or maybe he just makes you feel inadequate, unimportant and sad.
Maybe you are actually considering marrying this man?
Just remember your children will reap the benefits or suffer the consequences based on that decision.
So in your hunt to find Mr Right, make sure you choose wisely….