When I was growing up, Sean Connery was the ultimate cool factor and so was my father. Still devilishly handsome and charming in that Double O Seven kind of way, Dad has traded his impeccably tailored suits for chinos and a golf hat, but he still gets the double-take wherever he goes.
As one of 6 kids, I used to beg Dad to drive me to school so I could have him to myself for 5 minutes. It also didn’t hurt that he had the hottest car in the neighbourhood, and a single appearance at the school elevated my own cool factor dramatically. I used to think the straight A’s I got were due to my hard work and brown-nosing but now I wonder if having a look alike Sean Connery for a dad didn’t have a little to do with it.
Being a teenager with a dad like mine was even trickier. The popular girls wanted to be my BFFs and hang out at my house in case he might be home, and the boys who professed to me their undying love really just hoped they’d get a ride in his Beemer. But I wasn’t picky – I checked my pride at the door, basking in the glory, however short-lived, of awesome popularness.
My dad was smart and strategic (before ‘strategic’ became THE business buzzword), retiring at 38 and moving the family to England. He shifted gears from the study of how to make money to the study of theology, and became a more outwardly compassionate and generous human being. On top of being successful, funny, handsome and charming, he was now hell bent on being a ‘good person’. How was any guy ever going to compete with that? And therein lies the rub of being a daughter with a father like mine. No guy ever does measures up, or so I thought.
My first serious boyfriend was 21 to my 16. He was dangerous and distracting in that young Mickey Rourke kind of way, and had me convinced that true love = sex. After following him to Ft. St. John for a year, I realized the dead end road I was on and packed a U-Haul to go in search of my self-respect.
My first husband was a sweet and kind man who worshipped the ground I walked on, something I obviously needed after Serious Boyfriend #1. Five years later when it became apparent that adoration was not enough to keep the home fires burning, my dad was there to help me through the disaster that had become my life.
Serious Boyfriend #2 was a guy who had my dad in spades. Wildly handsome, massively charming, successful – and in love with me! Worked pretty well until he decided he actually wasn’t in love with me anymore, and would I mind if he packed his congas and moved to Texas.
Meantime, my parents divorced, my dad moved to Vancouver, and for the first time in my life, I saw him struggle with his. He eventually remarried (to a wonderful woman) and came out the other side a wiser, contemplative, more emotionally available man. Oh, and he got a dog. And started to phone me on a pretty regular basis to tell me he loved me.
Fast forward to 2014 and I can honestly say my dad and I are more friends than we are father/daughter. I see him for who he really is, a perfectly flawed human being just like the rest of us, intent on leaving the world a little better than how he found it. And he sees me for who I am – a woman who’s searching for a deeper sense of self, and who’s finally stopped trying to measure up to her dad.
Footnote: My wonderful husband of 6 years is nothing like my dad, except for the handsome, charming, smart, creative, funny part, and he looks more like Clive Owen than Sean Connery.