In The Beginning.
I started when I was 8 years old. And now, 32 years later, I have several stacks of them-boxes of them even. Diaries I mean. Not sure how or why I began chronicling my life but…I did-in painful detail. It’s interesting because I could have chosen to have written on any topic or subject matter. But instead I chose only one-my Daddy. He has been the central figure in my life for years now. Not that there is anything wrong with my Mom or my relationship with my Mom. But I have come to realize that my Dad has been the most influential figure in my life. It’s not that he was a perfect man or role model. Nor did I regard him as ever being faultless. But my interactions with him have set the tone for so many things. And how I expect to be treated as a woman has all been shaped by my Dad.
(flashback to age 6)
I was so excited! I couldn’t wait for him to get home from work. I spent several hours setting the table with all the pieces of my tea set. The napkins were folded just right. My pretend danishes were still cool and my make believe tea was piping hot. I started getting ready as soon as my homework was done. This was a major even in the life of a 6 year old. A tea party. And the guest…the one for whom all of the preparation was for? My Dad, of course.
As I anxiously awaited his arrival home from work, I sat patiently in the basement for him. I ran to my chair after I heard his car pull in on the parking pad. I could hear him go up the steps of the deck out back, stick his key in the backdoor, and push his way in. I could hear him go through each of the steps of his “coming ritual.” He first searched for his beloved Wife-my Mom. He had to find her, greet and kiss her, before he could hang up his coat and hat and set his briefcase down. Apparently, my Mom was anxious to see Daddy as I was. After a few minutes of laughter, giggles, and smooches, I could hear my Daddy say, “I’ll be back Beautiful.” Beautiful. Yup, that was the name my Daddy called my Mom. Every chance he got. As a matter of fact, I rarely remember him calling my Mom by her real name. Instead, it was always, “Beautiful.” Daddy would always take time to pronounce every letter when he said it, too. It was like he couldn’t wait to say it. But once he did, he always seemed to say it slowly and with a great deal of meaning as if he was saying it to my Mom for the very first time. And Mom? She would melt each time he did. They seem to really work well together-my Mom& Dad. And it was evident in even the smallest aspects of our family.
I was hoping Daddy was not too tired from work to spend time with me. Sometimes, it seems like he just barely makes it home on Mondays and Tuesdays. But this was Wednesday…so let’s see how it goes. This is really important to me. I want him to see the amount of work I put into setting this up. I want him to notice all the details. And I especially want him to compliment me on my dress. I had to get special permission from Mom to wear this today. Normally, I can only wear it for Sunday or for a special program at church but Mom said it was O.K. so long as I didn’t spill any pretend tea on it.
I can hear Daddy coming down the basement steps and my little heart feels as if it is about to jump out of my chest! As soon as he rounds the corner, I look into his eyes and…and…I noticed he is wearing a very tired look on his face. That’s it! He doesn’t want to play. I can tell. He’s had a long day and he will probably kiss me on the forehead, tell me how “nice” everything is, and apologize that he is too tired to play and go back upstairs. I just know it-I can feel it. But doesn’t he care that this important to me? Momma always reminds me that Daddy is a manager on his job and is in charge of 94 people that consistently bug him to do stuff all the time. But…this time…I’m hoping he has time for a 95th person-me, his Princess Daughter I thought.
Daddy sits down at the place, I prepared for him. He looks intently into my eyes. He reaches over and grabs my hands and…and…his stoic, emotionless, fatigued facial expression…suddenly…but very slowly changes. And before I know it, Daddy is clapping his hands and is wearing the biggest smile possible on his face.
And he says, “Baby girl-” cause that what he calls me when he is really excited.
“Baby girl! I absolutely love it!”
“Thank you,” as he claps his huge hands like a preschooler. And he gently grabs my hand and pulls me over and into his lap where he gives me the biggest hug ever!
“Thank you Baby Girl!” You did a lovely job setting the table. And you folded the napkins perfectly! And wow! Look at your beautiful dress” as he pulls away from me just enough to get a good long look at my dress.
“I just love your earrings, too. They match your dress wonderfully.”
That day, I don’t know what was more exciting: the fact that I knew my Dad was dog tired but made time to be attentive to his Princess or the fact that I heard him say all of the wonderful things he said to me to my Mom many times before. In either case, it was-without a doubt-one of the happiest days of life.
Join us For future installments of THE DADDY PAGES.
(This is a Jubilee News rewind. The Daddy Pages first appeared in the very 1st Edition of Jubilee News in February of 2013.)
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