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What’s A Dad?

Is it bad that I don’t have a clear example of what one should be?

Then I read the above statement and realize what an ungrateful little shit I am being. I had several father-figures.

  • The Twins: Two of my great-uncles who taught me all about life from my seat in their barber shop. They were the ones who taught me to shave, drive a car, maintain it, play basketball, and to be a good citizen
  • My Grandpa: The man who showed by example what a husband should be. Some of the happiest memories from my childhood involve him dancing with my grandma around the kitchen to “Hello Dolly” or me sitting against his legs while my sister sat in my grandma’s lap and we would watch All In The Family or The Andy Griffith Show.
  • Gianni Churnelli: My former boss who became part of my family throughout high school. This is the man who nurtured my love of cooking and who would be my sounding board for when I opened a restaurant of my own. I had a graduation ticket set aside for him but he died a week and a half beforehand.

I will be the first to admit that I have issues with my dad. My sister has even more. Years of little to no interest in my life got me to the point where his opinion is largely worthless to me now.

For as long as I have been old enough to think about it, I have been scared shitless at the thought of being a dad myself. Hearing things like “mirror, mirror on the wall I am my [father] after all” certainly did not help matters in the least.

Leap forward to now and I have a little girl who has decided in her heart and her mind that I am who she wants as a daddy. She decided this a month and a half before I even admitted to liking her mother and two months before we were dating. I near had a heart attack the first time she called me Papa.

My first thought was ‘oh fuck.’

Me and Eva sat her down and I explained that I couldn’t be her daddy but I could and would be her friend. She asked me why couldn’t I be both.

At the time I had no answer.

It was around this time that I found out the exact details of what happened between Eva and Daybreak’s dad. He freaked about a month before her due date and split town. Eva is left as a single teenage mom. Cut forward about four years and several failed, suspiciously short relationships later when I come in.

For the first two months that me and Eva dated, I grew more and more frightened by the fact that Daybreak saw me as her father. It’s like the more time she spends around me, the more she becomes me in miniature.

For example:

Daybreak: A, B, C, D, cookie monster.
Eva: You little fruit. You know what comes next.
Daybreak: E, F, G, H, I, J, K, cookie monster.
Eva: Where in the world are you getting that from?
Daybreak: points behind her
Eva turns to see me trying to hide a picture of Cookie Monster behind my back. She picks up a pillow and starts chasing me around the apartment.
Daybreak: Mommy! Don’t beat up Papa without me!

She works with me until it’s more amusing for her to turn on me. Like I said, me in miniature. I’m so proud.

So to my green-eyed little monster, I love you.

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