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Daddy’s Little Girl: An Ode to My Father

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Notre Dame chapter.

My father is the quintessential example of a dichotomy. On the one hand, he delights in listening to Frank Sinatra’s crooning voice while smoking a cigar under the moonlight. On the other hand, he counts hunting and fishing as his favorite activities. The man who sings to me in French and takes me to classical music concerts whenever he has the chance is the same man who is able to eat a complete cow during our weekly family barbecues and is not afraid to get “down and dirty” when it comes to outdoor activities.

The contrasting duality in my father’s character is a product of his upbringing. Having been raised in a majority-male household, my grandmother as the sole female figure in his life, he developed both a passion for rusticity and a great sensitivity toward beauty and culture. Ever since he was a child, he learned to hunt, fish and play contact sports; so imagine his bewilderment when life turned the tables and gave him a majority-female family.

The man who was used to all-things male was suddenly tasked with raising three little girls; a job, which might I add—although quite biasedly—he has accomplished with flying colors. Looking back on the twenty years I’ve lived with him, I realize how daunting that task really is, and how hard it must have been when his adult reality became completely different to his juvenile one. However, I think that the secret to his success stems from the fact that he taught us everything he planned to regardless of our gender. 

In some ways, his cluelessness led to great success. For instance, when it came to birthday gifts, my father could not tell the difference between Malibu Barbie and Pop Star Barbie. Instead of buying us dolls, he gifted us books. As such, my sisters and I cultivated a love for reading and an immense desire to understand the world that surrounds us. Rather than teaching us that a woman’s place is in the kitchen, my father raised us to be fearless and independent women, instilling in us the notion that being a woman is not a synonym for weakness. He taught us to strive for excellence and independence regardless of what society believes our role to be. He taught us to fish and hunt ever since we were born.

books on a bookshelf
Tasha Young

Even though my dad is often baffled by our women-related issues—he will never understand why we pack so many outfits for a road trip or why we desire to own so many shoes—he’s always willing to listen to us go on and on about fashion, our wildest dreams or the different songs we enjoy listening to.

My dad dislikes Latin urban music, but assumes defeat when we take control over the radio. He might roll his eyes at this and forever deny it; but, in my heart, I know a piece of him enjoys listening to Bad Bunny’s grooving tempo. He might think the lyrics are awful or that the song’s quality is non-existent; but, at the end of the day, it is the music that reminds him of his three little girls. After all, it is what I crank up everytime I have the chance to go back home—it’s what my mom and I dance to in an impromptu manner in the middle of the day. 

Though music is the one place where our tastes wildly differ, my dad still tries to open my mind to other beautiful selections. When dawn breaks, he and I are usually the only ones who are awake. Despite the fact that an ocean separates us, he sends me the music he is listening to. He moves me to tears when he sends ballads by Hermanos Rodriguez or velvet-like songs by Frank Sinatra. He never fails to tell me the reason why they remind him of me. “You were ‘pink and white as peaches and cream’ when you were born,” he said referring to Frank Sinatra’s “Soliloquy.” My father, despite his serious face, has a heart of gold I can only wish to approximate in my life.

He might be somewhat stubborn and too organized for his own good, he might not understand me at times and he might not like the same things I do; but my father is one of the people I admire the most. He stands up for what is right and fights against any obstacle. He puts others first and never fails to be respectful. He is strong and gentle, wise and always willing to learn—he is the dichotomy I hope to emulate in the future.

They say that behind every great man there is a great woman, but behind every great woman there can also be a great man. For me that man is and will always be my father. No matter how much time passes or how wide the distance between us becomes, I will always be my daddy’s little girl.

Originally from Venezuela, I am a senior majoring in Political Science and Economics with a minor in Journalism, Ethics & Democracy. An avid reader and a shameless cafecito lover, you can always find me exploring different coffee shops with my newest book in hand.