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  • Writer's pictureNancy Gene Giles

Is a demanding and sometimes mean parent a good thing? Happy Birthday Dad!

Happy Birthday Dad!

If you have read The Accidental Deputy or are planning to read it, you will know that my Dad was sometimes a frightening character. He was harsh and difficult to please. In the book is a first photo of us together that shows both of us without any smiles. I was born while he was in the Army and when he came home I was walking but still pretty young. I had a very hard time liking him even though I loved him unless he was bartending in our basement. When he was focusing on me – it was not good. I have lots of negative memories and harsh punishments that have haunted me for years.

His birthday was last week on December 29, and for years I often forgot it and did not think about it on the day. This year was a new experience and the day seemed pretty important and I actually awaited it to toast him. Couldn’t quite stomach a Pabst Blue Ribbon but decided a glass of wine would work.

I would have never been ready to say “YES” to become a deputy sheriff at 21 years old without him.

Writing the book was an amazing experience and has made a huge difference in my memories of growing up around him. As I began writing, I realized that he believed in tough love and making me a strong person when I became an adult. Although by today’s standards some of the memories still seem unacceptable, writing the book was very cathartic. I realized if I could survive his harshness then I could do anything with confidence. I would still be scared to try some new things but not doing something was unacceptable. He continued to enforce that in me until his death 35 years ago.

Try writing about your parent and list the positives and negatives. Then look at them and think about which ones you have carried with you throughout your life. Hopefully it will inspire you to understand them in a different way. I am wishing for you what I found so many years later. May you appreciate them, gain insight and find peace in your memories.

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