An important date at his daughters school arrives and he’s promised her he will be there, no matter what. The assembly begins, and he’s no where to be seen. Other parents trickle in late over the next 10 minutes and each time the auditorium door opens, her little heart jumps and tumbles. But every time she’s left empty and let down, because he didn’t keep his promise. A little piece of her breaks inside.
The safety in her home isn’t what she focused on, it was something she took for granted. Snow days, summer holidays and Easter were some of her favorite times, especially when daddy was around. But one time he was very angry with mommy and he hurt her, then he hit his daughter too. He had apologized and she had forgiven him aloud but life was never the same after that. Holidays held no more magic and laughter came few and far between. Inside her was a broken girl, needing to be whole again.
Barely knowing him to be begin with made it easier, him working away and being home for maybe 2 weeks out of the year. Why did he even come home? He didn’t know her, or her brothers. It seemed like he barely knew mommy. Going to friends homes, it always felt so weird and so out of place sitting around the dinner table with their fathers. He’d make jokes and tickle them and tell stories, and all she could think about is where was my father and why didn’t he care enough about me to want to see me all the time?
She had a vague memory of him when he wasn’t behind bars. The occasional truck ride, or an ice cream run made her smile. But now all she knows is hee family visits daddy at the penitentiary every Saturday morning. And every time she sees him he’s smaller and older and has nothing to offer her. Most weeks she refuses to come but is forced by her mother, whose heart breaks every time.
Every Sunday morning, he’s up before mommy and up before anybody else in the house. She woke by her nose inhaling hot pancakes and scrambled eggs and bacon cooked just the way she liked. She’d run down the stairs, not caring how loud her excitement was and he’d be waiting at the bottom of the steps, ready to catch his adoring daughter. He’d spin her around and tell her that this is her day and that her daddy loves her more than anything in the world. Her heart was so cemented in acceptance and love; it gave her wings to fly.
He’d been gone off and on for nearly three years and he’d missed lots of school events and a few recitals, but she loved her daddy more than anything in the world. From Afghanistan, he watched her piano recital and he video called her almost daily, every night right before she went to sleep, no matter how hectic and trying his day was. She knew how much he sacrificed for her and she knew in her heart of hearts that the kind of love he had for her was very uncommon and that she had lucked out big time.
Her daddy died just the other day. He uplifted her and gave her all that she ever needed, all 52 years of her life. Often he never had much physically to give, but his time and his patience and his availability and his love for her fulfilled all she ever needed or could ever ask for. At his funeral, she celebrated his life through tears, laughter and a smile ear to ear that showed all in attendance how much difference one man…a great father…can make.
What kind of daddy are you? Maybe a combination or possibly one I’ve not touched on. Regardless, time is of the essence. Who your daughter/s are and will be is completely up to you. Don’t squander this chance you’ve been given. Watch her blossom and give back, not die and die again. Tomorrow is too late; become who you need to be this moment. She will thank you in the end.