Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Being Daddy

Today I was thinking about what it means to be a Daddy... or more specifically, what it means to be so much a Daddy that even people who have no D/s nor parental connection to you sometimes address you as Daddy.

Let's delve into history a bit.

First, not so long ago, I struggled with being identified as a Daddy. I had the "Daddy = incest/child abuse" connection in my head, and even if I battled that down logically, I was still left with a hefty squick factor. I don't know exactly what helped me overcome that (probably desperation, to be honest--trying to find what this relationship with the boy meant to me and how it was supposed to work, trying to find what, exactly, worked for us, etc) but I think a large part of it was also that I began to see that "Daddy" is not always about the paternal parent. Sometimes "Daddy" is someone with authority. Sometimes "the old man" is a mentor, not your actual father. And "father", anyway, is something that we call priests, people who we (generally) assume to be of good and trustworthy character.

And so I began to learn that "Daddy" could mean love and nurture and authority, not a narrow definition in regards to reproduction.

Now let's go a lot further back in history. Let's go back to my childhood and have a look at my mother.

My mother is probably one of the best people in the world. She was (and still is) very kind and very compassionate. She cared for the people and the community around her with great zeal. We had numerous people crashing on our lounge room floor if they had nowhere to go. We had people come round for dinner because they were desperate, hungry, or even just lonely. My mother looked after and cared for everyone, with unconditional love and devotion.

Unsurprisingly, all the people who were connected to my family also began to call her "mum", just like I did, just like my sister did.

Looking back, I'm a little surprised I didn't get jealous. I didn't think "they can't call her that, she's MY mum!". I nodded and understood, because my Mum was everyone's mum, that was just who she was. And as a child, I also knew this: it didn't matter if we all called her mum, because when *I* called her Mum, it had a special meaning that didn't apply to anyone else.

These two things are connected.

For a long time I've been overly concerned with what it means when someone calls me Daddy. While I don't think I was wrong to be, I think that I need to remember the thing I knew as a child: Even if lots of people call me Daddy, my boy and my girl are both saying something different when they say it. They're special.

I think a part of this is lingering worry over the term and its connections. I'm still learning what it means to be Daddy, or rather, I've been under the assumption that I was still learning what it means to be Daddy. Really I've always known, and if people choose to seek that in me then I have no reason to deny them that.

So this is a second coming out, I suppose. I'm a Daddy, that's who I am. It is no longer reserved for only the special ones, but the special ones are still special. I will no longer wince when those who are not mine call me Daddy, because they are simply responding to something that I cannot (and choose not to) change.

(I'm a Sir too, but that's a subject for another post.)

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