Perfection

Well damnit, I’m still tired and crabby.  Even after spending the morning scouring the internet and reading my favorite blogs, I’m not cheered up.  Seems like everyone is wallowing in a little funk.  So I’m guessing maybe you need a little pick me up, too.  That’s why I’ll tell you a little something that always makes me happy.

I don’t remember how old I was, but I’d guess I was somewhere in my early teens.  Puberty had not been kind to me.  I grew almost six inches in one summer, requiring me to wear knee braces for most any sporting activity.  I was even less coordinated than I am now.  (And for those of you I kept waiting Saturday morning due to my unfortunate tumble down a flight of stairs, you know that’s saying something.)  Awkward would be a kind word to describe pubescent Elly.

I don’t quite remember the circumstances either.  Aunt Sharon was visiting, perhaps Aunt Shirley was as well.  I seem to recall Mom and her sister(s) were gathered in my dad’s study, though he was uncharacteristically absent.  I think he was in the bedroom next door.

I suspect I solicited their advice on my appearance, searching for ways to feel a little less awkward.  The Magnificent Cluckers were happy to oblige.  As is the way with adults and children, I quickly ceased to be a part of the conversation and more of a spectator.

“Perhaps she could change her glasses, find something with a thinner frame.”

“Perhaps she should grow out her bangs.”

“But the scar?”

“It’s hardly noticeable now.  Those bangs just chop her face in half.”

“Those shorts aren’t terribly flattering, has she tried a skirt instead?  Maybe something a-line?”

“Maybe a little more makeup?  With those glasses, you can hardly see her eyes.”

I stood there, overwhelmed – not insulted exactly, but a ball of confused pubescent hormones trying to absorb the harsh wisdom of the strong, confident women I loved and respected, grappling with how I saw myself and how others saw me.

…and then there was Dad.

He suddenly appeared in the room beside me, scowling.  I can count on my fingers the number of times I’ve seen my father truly mad.  This was one of them.

Unfounded?  Yes.

Adorable?  Yes.

Makes me smile to this day?  Yes.

He threw an arm around my shoulders and turned me towards the door.  “She’s perfect,” is all he said as we left the room.

He walked me to the kitchen, grabbed a glass of water, and headed back to whatever project he had been working on.  We never spoke of it again.  But to this day, when I’m nervous about meeting new people, scared to speak in front of a group, or just generally feeling insecure, I think to myself, “She’s perfect,” and I dig right in.


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42 thoughts on “Perfection

  1. I love your Dad. I believe I’ll be spending as much time over here as you will at my place, so we’ll call the epic yet entertaining time-wasting a wash, eh?

    (And had I known you were so much damn fun, I’d have corralled you for a scotch last week!)

  2. THANK YOU for this! Now I love your dad too. Even though he never gave your mom a real pearl necklace.

    He’s wise. YOU are indeed perfect. I’m blessed to have been in your presence and got some of that unicorn magical dust in my hair. Whenever I am feeling down, I will conjure up the magic that’s Elly.

  3. You really are perfect you know?
    John Mayers “Father’s be Good to Your DAughters” song is now playing through my head and it just reminded me that I have to hit him for a stupid tweet he typed the other day.
    Also, I found it oddly comforting that my aunts sit around and talk about how I need to color my hair.
    “Not for nuthin’ Marion, but have you seen the grey? We’re just sayin’, and we tell you to your face at least”
    They also use the phrase “do you gotta make?” when asking if you need to use the bathroom.

    1. John Mayer is a douche. But even I have to admit the dude has some guitar skillz.

      At least the next time you gotta make while you’re in NYC, you’ll know where the most spectacular loo is.

  4. I love your dad! He was all “Don’t call MY baby a fug, you fuckers!” Either you’re exaggerating your fugliness just a touch or you did the most spectacular ugly duckling routine ever, since you’re so adorable and goddess like now.

    I remember getting my first training bra when I was 12 or so and had only tiny little buds on my chest and feeling REALLY conspicuous in my tank top (before the bra) even though they were just tiny bumps and my dad saying loudly to my mum in front of other people “I think it might be time to GET HER A BRA!” Yeah. That’s not embarrassing at all when you’re 12, having your dad notice your lady bumps. To this day it’s my first thought when I get dressed “Do my boobs look huge in this?”

    Also public speaking? HATE IT. It’s not natural. Especially when you have a stupid accent. Like me I mean, not you.

  5. This made me teary. What a great daughter-daddy moment. Good for him. And lucky you to have someone like him in your life. What I would do to have a dad like him. Great story!

  6. Wow, that’s so sweet. I can’t think of much else to say, except that it actually did brighten my day. So thank you, and thanks to your dad, too.

  7. I read this on my phone while eating at a friggin Big Boy for lunch (NO PLACE ELSE TO EAT IN TINY TOWN WE DROVE THROUGH ON OUR TRIP HOME FROM CAMPING). And it left me teary. At Big Boy. Which made me fit right in with the regulars there.

    Precious story well told.

  8. You ARE perfectly wonderful!!!! I, too, have tears in my eyes…none of my three dads ever said anything like that to me in my life! You should send him the link to this post. I bet it will make his day!

    SOOOO great meeting you at BlogHer…can’t wait for next year…MY TOWN! Let’s petition to get it extended by a day! What do you think?!

    Sorry about the spilled libation…sorrier than you know! ($10 a pop, and I didn’t even get a sip! RATS!)

  9. *wiping tears* really wishing i had a dad or someone/anyone that did that for me when i was pubescent. and btw – you are motherfucking perfect. tall, happy-warm-fun face, hilarious, smart as a whip, strong, adorable, multi-talented, creative, perverse, genuine and totally gropable!

    i want your gene pool. can we make babies together?

    1. Dude! This is such a love fest I just want to crawl inside it and nap.

      It’s been a while since I’ve taken biology, but I’m fairly certain you and I can’t make babies together. Unless you count play-doh babies. Shit. Let’s do that. STAT.

  10. That is incredibly sweet of your dad. I feel like we can count on our daddies at the most unexpected times. They always come around when we least expect, you know? Like, I expect my mom to always be saying something, but my dad is only incredibly sweet in spurts. It’s not expected often. So, when it does happen it really sticks and hits home. It really means a lot.

    I would feel perfect if I were in your situation. I would have probably gotten teary eyed or something because I’m too emotion, haha.

    1. That’s TOTALLY his thing. He doesn’t say much. But when he does, boy do we listen. He can pack some wisdom. Also the occasional horrible pun, but mostly the wisdom.

  11. I feel like a puss, but this made me tear up a bit. I would have given anything at that age to hear similar words from my dad, though I now know he was simply incapable of such generosity.

    This was sweet. A great memory. 🙂

    1. I do, too. I bet he doesn’t even remember it. It’s funny when you stop to think that little things you say reflexively can have huge impact on a person’s life, eh? Dude. That sounds so serious and unlike me. Um, ball sacks!

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