I wasn’t going to call him Daddy.
Master, Sir, Boss, Lord, Duke, Earl, King, Grand Poobah …whatever he wanted, I would call him. Just not Daddy.
Not that he was asking me too. When we first began, we had a few conversations about this, but he really never had any deep opinion on what he should be called. To him, names really didn’t matter. I could call him whatever I wanted as long as I remembered he was the one in charge…well maybe not whatever I wanted.
I really had no feelings on this either. I just knew I wasn’t calling him daddy. We have girls – he’s their daddy, not mine. My relationship with my own father isn’t the greatest. I have childhood sexual abuse in my history. Calling him daddy would make me a cliché or certainly warrant a trip to the nearest therapist. Wouldn’t it?
So I tried Sir for a while, but it never felt right. It was awkward. Without emotion. For me, it just didn’t carry the amount of feelings I had for him. I went round and round with this name thing. Sometimes, I would beg him to tell me what he wanted to be called to no avail.
Then last year, Daddy became part of my vocabulary. It sort of was already there – it was much easier when talking with the kids to refer to him as Daddy then his name anyways. And to ease my frustration with names, Daddy decided that should be what I refer to him outside of the bedroom.
The more I said it, the more it fit. The more it fit, the more I said it. He became Daddy to me all the time. Not just in speaking, but in my thoughts too. Soon, I was even saying it inside the bedroom too. Daddy started referring to himself this way too. It’s become very natural for us.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why that is. I’ve been to therapists several times over the last few decades regarding my issues. I’ve done the talking and the programs and the meds. I feel like the last several years of my life, I’ve been in a really good place. Is this really some deep buried ‘daddy issue’?
I don’t think so.
I think calling him Daddy has to do with the kind of boyfriend and husband he has been over our nineteen year relationship. We were very young when I got pregnant with my oldest. Barely out of high school. Having a baby meant getting our crap together and growing up fast. He never hesitated – he was just as much the leader back then as he is now. Finding a better job and health benefits. Finding a place for us to live. Taking care of the bills. Taking care of a very pregnant me. And throughout the years after, I seem cursed with health issues. Through several surgeries, a heartbreaking miscarriage, a rough pregnancy with our second child…Daddy is always taking care of me. He’s always guiding me too. Whether it’s a new diet or hobby or career change. Or chasing a lifelong dream. Daddy’s always been there to support me in every imaginable way.
Early in our marriage, I collected lighthouses. Somebody asked why once and I was surprised when I found myself telling her it was because they reminded me of Daddy. He was my ‘lighthouse’, always watching over me and guiding me in life.
Now that we’ve moved into this dynamic, this has become magnified. Where before he would support or encourage me in my endeavors, now he issues orders. Now taking care of me means taking a massive amount of control of my life.
He’s still that lighthouse though. Always guiding, always protecting, always knowing what I need. Sometimes I think he knows me better than myself. Proof of this came last weekend. My grandmother’s death was hard and I was still reeling from it when Daddy decided to implement a new rule. I haven’t been good about going to church lately, so he wants me at church every Sunday. Now this probably doesn’t seem like a huge thing, but for Daddy it is. See, Daddy’s not a Christian. And Daddy is not a fan of the church I usually go to.
I grew up super-involved with a huge church and developed a deep faith at a young age. Daddy knows this – has always known this. Daddy, however, has never really shared that faith. I wouldn’t call him an atheist or anything…he’s just really nothing. Maybe slightly agnostic, but not a fan of religion at all.
Daddy’s always been super respectful of my faith though. He’s never had any issues with the kids and I attending or becoming involved. He’s even gone with us on the occasional Christmas or Easter although he often says he doesn’t like the church and finds himself getting angry whenever he goes.
When we moved into this dynamic, I was so swept up in that beginning ‘frenzy’ feeling, that I never thought much what it might mean for the differences in our faith. Afterwards, when I started calming down, I started wondering if faith and church were something Daddy would take away from me. I mean he certainly could – it really wasn’t some kind of hard limit we ever agreed on or anything.
But the thing is the dynamic didn’t change Daddy. He was still the same accepting guy as he was before. He told me that he would never ask me to do something that went against my faith and that was an automatic hard limit.
And now he’s making me go to church. Something he doesn’t believe in. Something he doesn’t care for. Yet, he recognizes what it means to me and that I need it.
So once again, he’s my lighthouse. Always shining that light…even in my darkest nights. And because he demonstrates this time after time, I’ve come to trust him more than I’ve ever trusted anybody in my entire life.
This is why I call him Daddy.