Column Post by Laura Hyers
I won’t begin to pretend I can understand a father’s love for his daughter. There are lots of things that get in the way of this (probably the first and largest being that I’m a woman), but I know as well as anyone a daughter’s love for her father.
My mom tells me all the time that when I was born, my basketball-playing daddy carried me around like a trophy, a little bundle of pale skin and big blue eyes and fuzz-hair to show off to his friends. Look what I made, isn’t she great? I went to the first of many company pool parties when I was 2 months old, and I’ve seen the pictures. I must say I was pretty adorable, as far as babies go.
And I looked just like my dad, which I’m sure doesn’t hurt, either.
I wonder some days with a sadness I can’t explain what happened the day my little sisters and I no longer met him at the door when he came home from work, shrieking and laughing and wrapping ourselves around his legs so he essentially carried us into the kitchen where my mom was.
Did we all of a sudden just stop one day? Or was it a gradual thing, a growing-too-big-to-be-carried, or maybe too big to be carefree? I’ve never asked him about it because a big lump wells up in my throat if I think about it for too long, but not once has he mentioned it. Perhaps he just knew that was how growing up works.
The day before Caleb proposed, he asked both of my parents for permission to marry me. Granted, we’d been dating for over three years, so he was kind of a shoe-in. But to this day I don’t know how that conversation went. Neither my dad nor my husband will tell me what happened, but he obviously got the green light.
It sounds incredibly old-fashioned, especially coming from a stubborn and independent woman like myself, but I am honored that my dad approved of Caleb enough to give me over to him. And I’m even more honored that my then-boyfriend respected my father enough to tell him that he wanted to take good care of me, even though it would mean taking me away.
Wedding planning had its fair share of panic and frustration, big fights and little irritations, lists and lists and lists and lists (I don’t like lists any more—I think I’m revolting against the ten months when lists consumed my life), and I remember on more than one occasion calling my dad in tears.
There were a hundred different reasons I could be upset, and most of the time it involved me butting heads with my mom, so of course like any little girl I went to Dad. He didn’t take sides, just tried to help me see things clearly and make a plan of action.
One of the hardest things for me to do was pick out the song he and I would dance to at the wedding. My dad isn’t a highly emotional man. I don’t enjoy seeing him cry; normally I end up in tears, too. So I searched and searched for the perfect song that was the right combination of happiness to fight away tears and words that were actually meaningful and indicative of our relationship. It took forever. Really. And then he suggested a really emotional song and it came down to a big choice that I was really uncomfortable with making: do I go with Dad’s preference, or the one I know is special and different and won’t have us both sobbing?
I went with my gut instinct, and Dad and I swirled around the dance floor and talked and giggled (and maybe both cried a little bit), and even if he didn’t hear the words, I knew they were perfect.
“Everything she sees
she says she wants.
Everything she wants
I see she gets…
Everything I say
she takes to heart.
Everything she takes
she takes apart.”
(Daughter – Loudon Wainwright III)
P.S. We’d love to know your thoughts; be sure to share in the comments section below. This month we will draw TEN winners from our commenters and the winners will receive one of these two books, Hope for a Hurting Heart or To Let You Know I Care by our featured author this month, Cheryl Karpen.
Laura Hyers is a Tampa native, writer, and the newly wed wife of musician Caleb. She recently graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in literature and is currently teaching preschool. When not chasing a class of two-year-olds, Laura is writing and fighting fierce bouts of wanderlust. She loves music, reading, being near the ocean, and dreaming big over huge cups of coffee with her best friend Lakin. Laura blogs at http://littlebirdmarie.wordpress.com.
Read more encouraging stories from brave-hearted women here. Be sure to grab your free copy of inspirational quotes and writing prompts while you’re there. (Look over on the right hand side!)
2 thoughts on “Fathers and Daughters”
Your story really touched my heart. I did not grow up with a father figure who seemed interested in anything I did unless it was something he didn’t approve of. As a result, my model of “father” was flawed, and my choice of a first husband, at sixteen, was very confused. He looked so much like my father, but his weaknesses were very different. Almost forty years ago a therapist told me that what would heal me would be to give my own children the childhood I wish I had. He was right…and although I made many mistakes, my children always knew I delighted in them, loved them, and and knew how to let go and stay close at the same time as they matured. And the healing came. So much so, that when I read stories like yours, I can just feel very happy for you. Great job. Oh…and I think the link to the blog at the bottom of your post isn’t your blog? Let me know about that if you can.
Linda, thank you so much for your kind words. I take for granted the relationship I have with my father and the positive influence he’s had (and continues to have) in my life, but comments like yours remind me how thankful I should be. I am so glad that you’ve found healing and that you were able to raise your children the way they deserved to be raised, with love and hope and joy and a wonderfully doting mother. It takes an incredibly strong woman to overcome her past and be for her children what she herself missed out on as a child.
As for the link, poor Lisa Easterling, our head-lady, has likely had enough of me and my faulty link! She has attempted to fix it a dozen times and the sassy little thing won’t cooperate. You could copy and paste this address into your address bar, hopefully that will direct you to my blog: http://littlebirdmarie.wordpress.com
Please let me know what you think of it when you get there 🙂
Thank you again for your encouraging words, and for sharing your own story.