The LOVE Of An Oilfield Daddy’s Girl

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There is no denying the special bond between a father and his daughter and in our family it is no different. Our daughter has been a Daddy’s girl since day one, but over the past three and a half years I have slowly watched her become an oilfield (OF) Daddy’s girl. Even as a toddler her Daddy has her whole heart. We often talk so much about how we are affected as oilfield wives (OFW) to be away from our husbands, but I do not feel we talk as much about our children and the reality they live of having a father in the oilfield. We share stories about holding down the fort on our own, the flood of emotions and pain of missing the one who has our heart, and the everyday life challenges of running solely on caffeine and the thought of days off, but rarely do we acknowledge what our children are feeling, seeing, and experiencing. Today I want to acknowledge the children of our oilfield families; the bravery, strength and ability to cope with having the person who also may have their whole heart, but not within their reach, my OF Daddy’s Girl included. Oilfield kids rock!

Growing up, my father was a coal miner. Being a coal miner’s daughter I naturally learned about the lifestyle of shift work. We were a blue collar middle class family. I remember summers spent at the pool when Dad was on graveyards just to “get the kids out of the house” so Dad could sleep. Then there were adjustments such as a Christmas breakfast rather than Christmas dinner, because dad was on swing shift and went in at 3pm. There were days where I would only see my father in passing on my way to school or on my way home after a sports practice, but I still saw him. This lifestyle was hard, but is the one thing I have found to relate to my adjustments when becoming an oilfield wife. The one obvious difference between being a coal miner’s daughter back then and seeing my OF Daddy’s Girl exposes one distinct difference and that is time. Regardless of the shift, I always saw my father once a day, he slept under the same roof as me and we usually shared conversation over some type of meal; we had time together. I always saw my father’s truck in the driveway at least once, and his can of chew on the coffee table, all little things that let me know my father, my protector, my friend was near. My OF Daddy’s Girl literally goes half the month every month without her father, and some of you experience even longer periods of time. She does not see his boots next to the door morning or night, his truck is not parked in the driveway, and his coffee mug does not leave the shelf, all the little subtle things I found reassuring as a little girl and she has none of that, I mean wow that is strength. She knows she will not see him nor feel his presence for weeks at a time yet she continues to laugh, play, pray, and tell him on the phone nightly she loves him.

There is no denying the heartbreak we as mothers and wives feel when our children are let down, sad, and disappointed. One of the things I respect most in my OF Daddy’s girl is her ability to understand “adult problems” at such a small age. When we have swim lessons, Christmas programs, and ballet recitals that fall on Daddy’s days at work, she understands and she continues to experience and celebrate with her chin held high. I remember one swim lesson, last fall, I was in the pool with Riley, my friend had her daughter, and my friends husband showed up to watch his daughters swim lessons. Seeing her friends Daddy, Riley was instantly overcome with excitement to see her Daddy on the side of the pool too, until I told her that Daddy was away at work at the rig. I could see a moment of sadness in her little eyes, but she was a champ, held back the tears and softly sad “OK mama, how about he can come next time?” The point is not how emotional it is for us or them, but more than anything how they accept, understand, and cope with these types of situations. I know my OF Daddy’s Girl wants to be front and center stage in front of her father more than anyone, she was to perform and always have his approval, she wants to share her accomplishments and happiness with him, but even at three she understands when that is not possibly, she copes and it continues to amaze me.

I will not lie, when I have my oilfield man at home, I feel more at ease. Having my husband home, I feel calm, safer, and all around more grounded. I often forget to think about our daughter and how having only one parent at home instead of two could really throw her world upside down. Truth be told, and I would never tell him this, but she does not sleep as well when her Daddy is gone, she does not play as nicely, and often it seems she loose her appetite when her Dad leaves. Even at three, our OF Daddy’s Girl still cries when the first morning she wakes up and he is gone, but she is brave and continues to be brave. Her and I both have days where we want to lay in bed on his side, not get out of our PJs and not even be around the rest of the world because well let’s face it we miss him, but again she is brave. Our OF Daddy’s Girl, talks openly at preschool when her Daddy is gone, or that he works a lot without any hesitation to be scared it may make her emotions resurface, she is proud of him. Daily, I get a folder full of pictures of our OF Daddy’s girl and her Daddy riding dinosaurs, dancing on rainbows, and eating silly foods and I think to myself, how incredible all OF children are to accept that their father is away from them and they still are brave enough to incorporate him in their everyday lives knowing that a conversation or question could arise and resurface the reality that he is just not there right now.

We as oilfield wives are strong and we all know that because if you are not strong then you just wouldn’t be married to this crazy lifestyle, but our children are equally as stronger if not stronger. Every child is a blessing, but these small little people in oilfield families who continue to participate in sports, try out for dance, and perform in front of all the other Daddy’s and their classmates are nothing short of awesome! Children in oilfield lifestyles know that Dad will not always be there on holidays, he will most likely miss a birthday, and he probably won’t see every point they score, yet they are ok with it. Our children know when Daddy is gone, they have to help more at home, and complain hopefully a little less. Sure there are days when as a OF wife and mother we feel at our wits end, but next time you feel yourself here, stop look at your children and think what they are feeling, they miss him just as much as you and in all honestly they are doing a pretty dam good job and being not just a kid, but an OF kid!

Check me out on Pinterest for ideas I do with my Oilfield Daddy’s Girl when our love is gone

http://www.pinterest.com/beckyarnld/

 

About rebecca

Becky and her family live in the beautiful town of Grand Junction, Colorado. She has been an OFW for almost three years, has a degree in Business Management, and works fulltime as a Digital Sales Manager for a local news station. She and her husband have one three year old daughter, Riley who is sweet, sassy, and even in heels and boas likes to pretend she is a dragon, that’s right ladies a dragon. In addition to work, Becky also volunteers on a fundraising committee for a local hospital, is a marketing chair member for a local not for profit, and helps pitch in at her daughters pre-school to raise funds. In her spare time (because she has SO MUCH of it) this OFW enjoys gardening, building projects on Shutterfly, cooking, golfing with her hubby, playing volleyball, and enjoying time on the lake with her family. Follow Becky on Pinterest and Instagram.

Comments

  1. Marcella says:

    This made me cry and cry. Thank you for spotlighting our beautiful and strong children! Love this article so much.

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