My dad raised me on his own, and did practically everything right. I swear. I love and respect him like crazy, and even though I’m married with my own children, I still love spending time with him.
One thing that doesn’t apply since I have four boys, but has always stuck with me, is that if I told him my menstrual cycle was too heavy, he trusted me and would let me miss school. I have a medical condition that makes them pure hell, and even before he knew it, he still showed me great care. I never took advantage of that, either.
Now clearly, I screwed up in other ways, no one’s perfect. My dad had a tactic when I’d get caught, saying “So. Were you lying to me then? Or are you lying to me, now?” Pffffftttt. There’s literally no right answer. Sucks being on the other side of that one, but I already use it with my oldest.
Another thing that I learned from my dad is to always welcome my kids friends into our home. It’s a good thing to get to know their friends, and it’s always comforting to me to know that the group is at our house, not tearing up the neighborhood.
My dad dealt with my hormonal teenage nastiness deftly, when I once decided to tell him that I hated him. He simply looked at me for a long moment and said evenly “Some day you’ll regret that.” Pow. Wind right out of my bitchy little sails.
Lastly, one I honestly pray that I will never need. When my first born, our little girl, passed away at birth, my dad stepped in for my husband and I, in ways that I can’t even explain. He simply said “you are my children, and I will get you through this.” He fed us, helped with arrangements, drove us places, brought movies and other distractions. He even reminded me to shower.
I know you asked for one thing, but I honestly can’t just choose one. My mom may have opted out, but I seriously had the most amazing dad ever, and my boys (including one who shares his name) are blessed with the most amazing Grandpa!