A father is the first man that a girl loves. He is the man that all other men are measured against. That is why I strive to live my life in a way that will make my daughter say, “I want to marry a man just like my father.”
I often stumble in my quest. I fail miserably. And I beat myself up when I don’t live up to the high standards that I have set for myself and my daughter. It hurts my heart when I’m not the man my daughter needs me to be.
I’m sure that Freddie McMillan feels the same way. He would probably trade all of his success as a pimp and drug dealer to be the male role model that his daughter needed in order of build healthy relationships with men.
Freddie’s daughter, Tracy McMillan, author of the memoir, I Love You and I’m Leaving You Anyway, experienced much heartache during her life. As the daughter of a pimp and a prostitute, things were never easy for her. She bounced from foster home to foster home while Freddie was in prison until finally settling in with a mentally abusive adoptive mother.
Throughout the book, McMillan describes how she used her cunning and guile to help her to overcome these stressful situations. The one thing she couldn’t overcome was her father’s impact on her life.
Because of her erratic relationship with Freddie, McMillan fell into a pattern of dating and marrying men who were wrong for her – men who were just like her dad. Although the men in her life were not pimps, they shared Freddie’s penchant for being emotionally distant man-children who defined themselves through their emotional or physical bonds with women.
I Love You and I’m Leaving You Anyway is cleverly written and filled with passionate, wry anecdotes. McMillan’s use of the present tense makes the story come alive and you feel as if you are the third wheel in every one of her failed relationships.
Although her relationships were often doomed by her desire to find a man like Freddie, McMillan finally learns to let go of daddy by embracing her son.
She writes, “…My boy has taught me every single useful thing I know about men.” This epiphany finally breaks the dysfunctional bonds and allows her to build a healthy new future.