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Daddy's Little Girl

Tamra Barney opens up about her relationship with her father.

My decision to show my relationship issues with my dad on national TV was a big decision for me. But, like I said many times before, there is something very therapeutic about seeing yourself from the outside. I knew when my Dad heard the things I had to say and watched his own reactions, he could see how bad it hurt us.I grew up in a very traditional middle class family in Glendora, CA. My father was a business owner and my Mom stayed home with me and my two brothers. There were never any BIG issues that us kids knew about. I think as a kid you always want to believe that your parents are happy and will stay together forever. I was 25 years old when my parents divorced and of course the situation with him. Marrying my Mom's friend was a hard one to overcome. I spend the last 15 years of my life acting as if it NEVER happened and I moved on with my life. No one ever heard me talk about my dad and when I was asked about him, I had a hard time keeping the tears in (even as I am typing this right now).

Growing up I was the only girl and I was definitely Daddy's little girl. I don't think it matters how old you are, you are always daddy's little girl deep inside. I would talk to him on the phone occasionally and see him maybe once a year, but other than that there was little communication. I will always remember the day when my Dad called me and said he was divorcing that woman (my mom's ex- best friend), I knew that I would have my Dad back in my life. The first thing he did was come and see me and the kids and we got to catch up on what was going on with our lives. Shortly after that he decided that he needed a change and moved to Iowa (where he was born) and retired. Although I wished he could have stayed closer so he could spend more time with us. I respected his decision to move away and start his life over.

My relationship with my Dad is wonderful now. I will always have some kind of pain in my heart for the lost years that we had. But I am looking forward to many years to come. My kids love him and are so happy to have their Grandfather in their lives. He calls me a few times a week and is constantly giving me advice on things. I always wondered – does it hurt more when your parents divorce when you're 5 or when you're 25 and life is no longer as you have always known it? I would have to say that neither situation is easier, you just have to make the best of it. The day me and my Dad sat at the lake is a blur to me. I had so much emotion going through me I forgot what we even talked about. When we sat down there and started talking, I forgot the cameras were even there. I had so much to say and so many questions I just started pouring them out. When I got home Simon asked me "how did your talk with your dad go?" I responded that I didn't know...I really didn't know. I had waited 15 years to confront him and I couldn't even remember what we talked about – it took a week before I could really remember what was said. I am so lucky that I have it all documented. There were so many other things that were said but not aired. From the footage it looked like he blamed my Mom for running off with her friend, but that is not the case. I found out that they DID have problems and they were not happy. They did a good job as parents and never let us kids know anything was wrong.

Meeting my "Waddle" cousins in Iowa was a blast! Yes, Waddle is my maiden name and I would have to say I was quite happy to get rid of that one. People still tease me that I went from a Waddle to a Barney. Nancy is just crazy fun, Lori her sister is more of the voice of reason. She is more of the reserved one, but from what I hear she has got a wild side to her too. I would have to say I almost fell off my chair when I heard what she said to Ryan. I know she was joking but Nancy, you need your mouth washed out with soap. Tony, Nancy's husband is so adorable and seems to be pretty quiet most of the time ( I guess Nancy has a big enough voice for both of them). Sophia took a real liking to Tony he was like the Child-whisper, all the kids loved him. I have gotten a lot of calls from relatives in Iowa since I visited and enjoy talking to them all. Nothing is better in life then to have a huge family that supports you. Happy 50th Birthday Nancy-duck.

I want to close with this – my heart goes out to all the flood victims in Iowa. Walking down the streets and seeing all the devastation was very heart breaking, my kids still talk about it. It truly looked like pictures I had seen from Hurricane Katrina. My Dad and Amelia were lucky – they had the money to repair their house. Most people there had to walk away from their home with nothing and will never be able to move back. I wish them all the best.

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