Sounds funny to my ears when I say the word daddy. It’s much funnier for me to type it. I mean, I am 36 y/o and probably should be past that title by now. Wouldn’t you think? However, I proudly say that I am not. No matter how old I get, you will always be daddy.
Okay daddy, there’s something I like to say to you so can we talk for a minute?
Oh, thanks. I always love being able to have conversation with you. The other day you asked me why I always laugh when you talk to me about certain things. Daddy, I want you to know, I’m not laughing at you. I know it seems silly, or more importantly, it comes across as rude and disrespectful. For that I am sorry. I’d like you to know that I only laugh because sometimes, I just don’t know how to respond, but I do know whatever it is you are telling me in those moments is not only important, but also letting me know you better. It’s not often you share pieces of yourself (your hurt, your joys and your thoughts) so when you do, it means the world to me. I feel closer to you in those moments. You get riled, but you have a heart of gold and I know that you do. You also have a playful side, most notably when you’re picking on momma. I always know when it’s coming because you just get this devilish smirk, one I immediately recognize. Your signature grin, daddy. Makes me smile just thinking about it. Sometimes, the way I am reminds me of you. I can’t say for certain what it is, but the bond we share is unique to you and I. I love it. But it’s like that with each of us girls, you have a unique bond with all of us that sets each relationship apart from the other. I guess that’s how it’s meant to be, though.
When I was a little girl, I remember you being gone a whole lot. Of course, it was your job as you were and O-T-R truck driver, gone for weeks at a time. We just got so used to you being gone, it seemed strange when you were home. But I’ll tell you what, when you did come home after those long hauls, strange or not, we were always happy to see you. My memories of those days consist of we three girls playing on the flatbed trailer with the wood floor. I remember prancing around in momma’s high heels feeling like a princess even though my clothes were stained, my feet were bare and dirty (you know, backwoods rednecks), and my hair was long, stringy, and always in my face. Dad, I have so many fond memories. It seems like only yesterday.
You know what was cool though, the breaks you’d take, the time off. You’d earn enough during your time on so that you could take long breaks and we’d still get by. In those times, those breaks, you’d spend a lot of time us, mostly fishing or hunting, but that’s okay. As a little girl I wasn’t to into all that but I tagged along for whatever reason, mostly because you’re my dad. As an adult and as a parent, I see the importance of what you were doing, that time spent with us. I know you were trying to pass on the knowledge that you carried which was mostly outdoor activities. You had a knack for many things, a jack of all trades and master of most, to me anyway. You can create a beautiful work of art out of most any wood or metal or steel. You are handy with a fishing rod and a gun. I remember watching you clean the days’ catch. I can’t tell you what those skinning tools are called so I guess I’ll call them fish skinners, but I remember you’d cut the head off the fish, take the guts out, then you’d hold the fish somehow and pull the skin right off (taking the pants off you called it).
Do you remember when you told me that if you throw the head back in the water after you cut it off then the fish would grow back? Oh Lordy, did I believe you? Yes sir, I sure did. And how about those stinky deer hides or coon hides or whatever hides you had at the time that would sit rotting in a bucket or whatever was going on with them. I have no idea what the heck you were doing, but you knew exactly what you were doing. You knew how to preserve those hides and you sure could tan some leather. And boy, did you perfect your gardening skills! You can grow a right fine garden, dad. These days, I wish I would have paid more attention back then. It’d be nice to be able to grow a garden as pretty yours.
I don’t know if I’ve told you or how often if I have, but I’m proud of you daddy. I know you did the best you could by us. I know how much you love us and I know how much you love momma. I know you always have. I haven’t always understood yours and momma’s marriage, I still don’t, but I believe you need momma and momma needs you. It’s always been that way. Whatever it was, whatever it is, y’all were/are in it for the long haul. I know that now. You’re a wonderful man, daddy. When I met my hubby, when I seen how you and he got along together, I knew he was the one for me even though, I tried to pretend otherwise. I was scared, my heart was leery after the things that had happened prior to meeting my honey. He reminded me a lot of you. He’s smart, just like you. He’s as strong and he’s as dependable as you have always been. And he’s as honest as the day is long, just like you. He has that strong sense of integrity that you have . And he takes care of me, as you’ve always taken care of momma. It’s the same with the kids, just as you were with us. He works with his hands and he ain’t afraid to get dirty, same as you. He works way harder than he should sometimes, but you always did, too.
I guess, in a way, the old adage is true. Women look for traits of their father in the men they date and I think it’s the same for a man. Sometimes, he can be a hard man, daddy. He’s got lots of love in his heart, always a helping hand just the same you’ve always been. But, he’s a man and there’s a certain breed of men that don’t cater to those softer emotions, a category in which both you and he rest comfortably. That’d be my first pick of a man any day because those are the men that will do whatever it takes to support their family. Your strength of heart, of soul, of body and of mind is admirable. You taught me what to look for in a man. And I have to say, I am blessed to have you as my daddy. God knew exactly what He was doing when he brought you and momma together.
Which brings me back to meeting my hubby. He spent more time with you and momma in that first few months than he did with me because he enjoyed y’alls company, but also because I didn’t want to let my guard down. I’ll tell you what, though, I sure am thankful for that. Watching him spend time talking to you and momma helped me realize what kind of man he was and still is. He took the time to get to know you, get to know momma, and let y’all get to know him. He made me feel more special than any guy I’d ever dated. I knew I loved him then. Skip ahead a couple of years to my wedding day, when you and momma walked me down the aisle to give me away. It was one of the very best days of my life. It was absolutely perfect. Remember the high heels story when I felt like a princess? That feeling became reality on my wedding day. I’d waited on that day for a long time, dreamed about it for many years, and finally, my dream came true. You walked with me, arm in arm, to my husband, my best friend. Thank you, daddy, for making my dream come true. I hope you realize how much it means to me that you walked me down the aisle. I can still see the proud look on your face. That moment, that walk, I really felt like I did something right.
I’m going to tell you a little secret, daddy. A few years ago (and probably not the first time, but the most memorable time) momma told me that you wanted me to be a boy. Well, I wasn’t a boy, but I am your daughter and you taught me much. The secret, though, is that she told me you picked my name. I remember growing up how I always hated my name. As I matured in my mind, my name just became part of me, who I am and didn’t bother me anymore. When momma told me that day those few years ago that you chose my name, my thoughts about my name changed. Suddenly, it wasn’t just a name. It is something of you and it made me feel closer to you.
As for boys, yeah, you never had any. It didn’t matter though. As I’ve mentioned already, you still taught us what you would have taught a boy…..hunting, fishing, gardening, roofing, whatever you knew how to do you tried to teach to us. Don’t be sad, daddy. What we didn’t learn was of our own volition, not for your lack of teaching. Now, I can only wish I’d paid better attention. Rest assured, though, that the knowledge you carry is going forward to the next generation because God has blessed me with five strong, healthy boys and you’ve bonded with two of them in a way that I know you would have shared with a son of your own. They love it, daddy. They love what you’re teaching them. They are so much like you and their dad. They have the same strengths that you and my hubby carry. Those two boys are truly to be appreciated, just like you and their dad. I know you don’t play favorites with them between their brothers or their cousins, you just bonded with them differently, on a different level. It’s pretty special, but all the grandbabies are.
What a wonderful family we have, daddy. And it all started with you and momma. Don’t worry. I know that you do, but you don’t have to because this family, our family, is going to be fine. God is on our side. He’s strong that way and that’s where we all get our strength. The other day you mentioned about family being torn apart. We just have to have faith that God is with us and with His help, that won’t happen with our family. I get upset with our family (you, momma, sisters, kids) sometimes, but I won’t give up on anyone. You and momma taught me loyalty to family. Anytime I think about the possibility of our family getting separated again, it breaks my heart. It scares the crap out of me.
There’s a million more things I could say, might ought to say, but I’ll just say this:
I am extremely proud of you and appreciate all the things you’ve ever done for our family. I love you to pieces and wish you the very best Happy Father’s Day. I pray for many, many more.
♥ ♥ ♥