Yeah. My dad left before he saw this daughter grow up to be a swinging somebody.

Yeah. My dad left before he saw his daughter grow up to be a swinging somebody.

My dad died when I was four.

Mom never found me another dad, so I was a girl looking for a father for a really long time.

TV dads were the only kind of dads I knew, and they were everything a girl could ask for: handsome, wise, good providers, stern but fair, and often funny. And, oh, they loved their kids. I wanted a dad like Beaver Cleaver’s or Opie Taylor’s dad; and I spent most of my life in search of the kind of father who only existed when the television was on and the reception was good.

TV dads were the best!

TV dads were the best!

My father wouldn’t have been a very good dad. He killed himself so mom could find somebody better, at least that’s what his suicide note said. He must have thought he wasn’t a very good father. But maybe he was a pretty good father in the protecting-his-family department. He protected us from him.

But that’s not what I wanted.

I wanted a father who was great in all departments. And so I started my search.

My grandfathers weren’t in the running because they were old and were already taken.

I didn’t have any brothers who could fill the job and my uncles had way too many kids of their own.

Sure, it's all smiles for the camera. But what happens when no one's looking. No thank you!

Sure, it’s all smiles for the camera. But what happens when no one’s looking. No thank you!


I had a 6th grade teacher, Mr. Bedard, who was a real possibility until I found out he was engaged to a woman who had a beehive hairdo and wore more make-up than Tammy Faye Bakker at a cosmetics convention. I figured my mom wasn’t his type.

My mom had a more, um, understated beauty.

My mom had a more, um, understated beauty.

When I was old enough to be noticed by boys, boyfriends provided a real possibility for father substitutes. My standards for a boyfriend were suspiciously similar the qualities of Sheriff Andy Taylor: tall, strong, dependable, exuding quiet authority, a good protector and provider, patient, funny and kind. That type of teenage boy was hard to come by, so I settled for a string of guys who thought I was pretty and who wanted to get in my pants.

When I was well into adulthood, I realized that my quest for a father was never necessary. My mom was both a mother and a father for my sisters and me. She may not have been particularly tall, but she was strong, courageous, exuded quiet authority, protected us and provided for us, was patient, generous and kind. She was a single mother when having a husband defined a woman.

And I thought I had it rough because I didn’t have a father. She didn’t have a husband.

Oddly enough, she never knew her father either. But that’s a story I told in a book I wrote called Never Turn Back

Cheers to you, Mom/Dad!

Cheers to you, Mom/Dad! You had one heck of a rough life, but you never let it get you down. Thanks for being the best parent and role model a daughter could hope to have.

I sent her a Father’s Day card and thanked her for her many years of double-duty.