The Role of the Father

It’s been three weeks since my father passed away. I’m doing better, but I still have times when it’s everything I can do to function. Someone without a clue asked me a question: How important could your father have been to you when the father is absent in your best selling series? First, my books are fiction. Second, like most father/daughter relationships, my relationship with my father was terribly complicated.

My own relationship with my father had no bearing on Aislinn’s relationship with Donnelly or Nadine’s relationship with her father.

I am a thinker and a creative type. This means I like to have lots of evidence, think about it and come to a decision on my own. I also like to create and I think like a writer which is slightly different than non-creative types. Interestingly, both of my parents encouraged these traits. They also encouraged me to ignore social trends and be independent. To this end, my father encouraged my friendship with a cousin on my mom’s side who was twelve years older than me, because he thought she was a good role model and when I wanted to dye my hair purple like hers for the first time, both my parents agreed. Because it’s purple hair not meth. All of this led to a decent childhood and mostly well adjusted adult, as well as making me feel like I can do anything.

Having said all that; my father and I had very, very different personalities. Which meant no matter how supportive he was, we had our fair share of disagreements. Here’s an odd thing to know; not once in my 39 years did my father discipline me, he always left that to my mother. He didn’t swat my butt as a child (even the time I took the oven door off and then took it apart with a case knife [butter knife] and he couldn’t get it back together properly [I was 3 years old and deserved a swatting]) and he didn’t ground me as a teenager those things were always my mother’s responsibility. Sometimes, I internalized this lack of discipline as a lack of feeling. In reality, my father just wasn’t comfortable discipling female children. No, let me rephrase that, my father just wasn’t entirely comfortable with having female children. He loved my sister and I, but he didn’t know what to do with us…. we were girls and girls couldn’t work like boys could and they were more fragile. My father grew up in a farming/ranching family where male children went to work on the farm with their father’s as soon as they could walk and talk. But female children didn’t.

Basically; my father and I had a complicated relationship. But I think nearly every parent/child relationship is complicated.

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