As little girls we look up to our daddy’s. They are our first love, our heroes and navigators. They set the example, and if they are good men they set the bar high. As children we watch everything they do with eyes wide open, how they love our mothers, how hard they work, sacrifice and how much they believe in us, their children. My dad is an incredible man, selfless in every way, always giving, with a true servant’s heart. Thanks to my daddy, I was given two of the greatest gifts a little girl could ever have. One, my dad loved my mother and it was evident in everything he did, and two, he believed in me.
My mom and dad married in the late 60’s. My dad came into my mom’s life when she needed him the most. He has loved her since the day he met her. Now my dad is a southern gentleman from Alabama and my mom called Philly home. To say they were the least likely pair to meet and marry is not a stretch of the imagination. Four years later I came along. I was an unexpected miracle as my parents like to say. Not that they weren’t trying, it was just the odds were against them. I was what you call a medical improbability. Given the circumstances, the likelihood of having another miracle baby wasn’t really in their favor. Thus I was my parent’s only child, and a daughter at that.
Now, let’s go back a ways, to the early 70’s, when I was born. Fathers didn’t go into the delivery rooms like they do now. It was a "woman’s thing" despite the fact it took both to bring a baby into the world. My mom had an incredible OBGYN. His name was Dr. Close. Where I was born, they were just allowing dad’s into the delivery rooms. My dad was the first. He was ready, full of happiness beyond belief and eager about being there with my mom welcoming their little miracle into the world. My daddy was the first to hold me, even before my mama. From that day forward, I was his baby, Daddy’s little girl (Love's Not Demanding /April2015), I was his Criggy.
Life Lesson # 57 ~ Teacups and Superheroes, capes and tiaras, that's what daddy’s and their little girls are made of.
Growing up my daddy was always there for me. He didn’t miss anything. Didn’t matter how tired he was, he would walk in with a smile, kiss my mama and up I’d go into his arms. We’d talk, giggle, set the table together and tell my mom how beautiful she was together. I spent so much of my early childhood riding my daddy’s shoulders. It was my favorite place to be. I felt tall, safe, protected and I felt as if I could see forever when I was up there. My Daddy never failed to join me for a tea party and he never missed bedtime hugs and kisses. He read to me, helped me brush my teeth, and told me I was beautiful, just like my mama and that I could be anything I wanted to be. I was his princess, a superhero and secret agent all in one. We’d put the dollies to sleep and off we’d go, with our capes and goggles chasing super villains but not before tea. I knew I was loved, and I never had to question that.
As a teenager my dad was there for my first vocal performance, my first dance, my broken hearts and everything else in-between. By the time I met Johnny in my early 20’s my dad was a pro at mending my broken pieces and propping me right back up on my feet again. I think he knew from the moment I first mentioned this boy, named Johnny; his little girl would be taking this boy’s name as her own. I remember coming in from the car one night to find my dad with binoculars at the window. I hugged my dad and then proceeded to laugh all the way to my bedroom. He was right, I married 'that' boy some 5 months later.
As a daughter, I could ask for no better of a father. I am thankful I have been given the blessing of calling this man my dad, my daddy, my father. He’s honest, loving and giving. I have never felt abandoned or neglected by my dad. He’s authentic, true, unwavering and he’s been an unyielding architect in my life. My dad, he’s an example of God’s love in not only my life, but in all our lives. He is a man among men, a gentlemen and a scholar. He’s worked very hard for his family, opened his home and life to so many. Sure he’s been rejected by a few along the way but loved more by countless other folks who’ve crossed his path. He’s true North, always faithful to his beliefs and his family. As a grandfather, as Paw Paw, he’s been a driving force in my boy’s lives. They look up to him, love him dearly and will defend his honor and character in a heartbeat. Joshua and Micah, his Bunkie and Munchkin, it doesn’t matter how old they are, they’ll always be Paw Paw’s little boys. Proverbs 17:6 says “Grandparents are proud of their grandchildren, just as children are proud of their parents.” My dad is a daily example, a testament to this bible verse.
I truly value my dad’s place in my life, his wisdom. My dad has taught me many life lessons, including recognizing I don’t always need to be right or win an argument; understanding I shouldn’t allow my pride to get in the way of personal growth. I’ve learned through his example to admit when I’m wrong, to be humble enough to accept and own my own choices in life. Yes, we may bud heads from time to time, but I never have to question my daddy’s love for me or my place in his life. When I think back on my childhood, I see my dad standing tall, strong in his uniform. He was always there for me no matter what. I love this man more than I can truly express. My dad, even when he’s tired, after working a 12 hour shift at 72 years old will still stop by his little girl’s house. And why you ask? Well just because I asked him to, because I needed one of my daddy’s hugs. He’s that man and I’m humbled to be called his daughter. I not only respect him, I cherish him and the unconditional love he’s given me and my family. I’m honored to have carried his name, to have walked down the aisle on his arm taking my husband’s name some 22 years after he held me for the first time.
In closing I want to share this. There’s a quote, I have no idea who said it, but it goes like this, “No matter how much I grow up, I will always be three things, the apple of my father’s eye, the reigning queen of my dad’s heart and daddy’s little girl.” I may not be able to ride his shoulders anymore, but because of my daddy, I can still see forever. Even at 43 years old and counting I am and will always be daddy’s little girl