It happens every year. About one week before Father's Day I start having dreams about him, a mixture of past and present meshed seamlessly together to create that blissful feeling of being in his presence again. It has been 24 years since my dad died but in these dreams I can still smell his aftershave, feel the smoothness of his cheek and hear his voice and that laugh. The laughter that filled so much of my childhood still resonates in my subconscious and comforts my soul. When I awake from these visits I am both delighted to have spent some time beside him and sad once the realization hits that it was just a dream.
The famed Jungian analyst, Marion Woodman, would call me a "father's daughter", and I whole-heartedly agree. A strong connection to all that male energy has served me well and a heightened awareness of some of those archetypal features of my personality has perhaps made me both more empowered and consciously feminine.
Those of us lucky enough to have incredibly close and unconditionally loving father-child relationships walk through the world with an extra dose of self-esteem and confidence. There is no doubt that my mother also supported and encouraged me but she was no match for the charismatic, larger-than-life man she had married. As soon as I was able, I became the sidekick to every one of his practical jokes, magic tricks or creative party games. I loved scheming with him--whether planning fabulous family vacations or going on impulsive shopping sprees. He was all about fun and one of my fondest memories is those Sunday morning pony rides--just me and my Dad.
Later in life, I shadowed him around his office and chose the same profession. We relished in studying together and discussing absolutely everything. There was no topic off limits and no personal story that was too private. When my mother died, he shared secret stories of her family that were off limits while she was alive, the scandalous affair of a relative and my mother's fierce protection of her reputation. Friends often marveled about my father's complete acceptance of me and our almost psychic levels of connection and camaraderie. Two peas in a pod people would say--nothing made me happier.
I named my only son after my Dad and in this way have kept his memory fully alive--sharing his namesake's life story and watching with joy how similarities appear almost spontaneously as my son becomes a man himself.
This Father's Day, I will again raise my glass and toast the man who most inspired the woman I am today. I encourage others to share in my gratitude and appreciation.