Saturday, June 18, 2011

On Father's Day

My Sweet Daddy. He is my first memory.  Strong, large hands reaching over the top of the crib to take me into his arms.  Holding me high up on his shoulder and singing, my chin buried into that spot where he broke his collarbone long before I was born. It made just the right little spot for me to rest my chin.  I slept in my crib in my parents' room for a long time, so this memory is probably from my toddler years.

I was born when he was in seminary and he worked nights loading trucks for Nabisco after going to school.  Mother tells that he would come home and ask if he could wake me up on occasion. He would say it had been several days since he'd seen my eyes.  She says she always agreed and he would pick me up, wake me, talk and sing to me and then rock me back to sleep.  I was a Daddy's girl from the get-go.  In fact, I have proclaimed myself to be the Queen of Daddy's girls. 

Daddy's Girl

I remember him taking me up in his arms to stand at the window during a raging storm.  I was so afriad, but he held me there and told me of God's love for me.  He assured me that God would take care of me and that he would also take care of me.  He sang, "I know whom I have believed" and he calmed me.  Now when the thunder rolls and the lightning crashes, I think of being held in My Sweet Daddy's arms and I stand at the window and know that God will care for me.  And that My Sweet Daddy loves me.

My earliest concept of God was so shaped by My Sweet Daddy. Loving. Meeting my every need. Always there in times of trouble. Expecting my best. Longing for my obedience. Swift discipline when necessary. Holding me in his arms. Providing for my safety and well being. How easy it was for me to believe in God and  that my Heavenly Father loved me when I had such an earthly father! 

As I grew older, time and time again My Sweet Daddy provided wisdom and encouragement to me. In my darkest personal hours, he was there. When a doctor told me that I probably had what he would call 'products of conception' and suggested an abortion, it was My Sweet Daddy I called. Months later, when that beautiful product of Annie...was born, My Sweet Daddy was there.

I remember when I was a military wife with my husband on a remote tour of duty, My Sweet Daddy would come and get my toddler son to go get a coke or perhaps get gas in the car.  He seldom called ahead, because I was almost always at home.  He would knock on the door and ask if he could borrow Jamie for a few hours.  And it was always when I was at my wits end with a toddler and a newborn and feeling very alone.  Silly me.  I am never alone when My Sweet Daddy is near.

I remember when my marraige was falling apart and my parents were living in Alaska!  Is there anywhere farther away from Alabama than Alaska?  Didn't seem so at the time.  My phone rang and it was My Sweet Daddy.  He was flying down for a meeting and if he added one leg to his flight, he would earn a free ticket.  Did I mind if he came and spent a few extra days with me?  Did I mind??  Just when I needed him most, there he was! 

Then, when the failed marraige ended in divorce.  I wanted to take my maiden name back.  I asked my Daddy if that would be okay with him, and he was so pleased. I have the sweetest letter that he wrote to me, telling me how proud he was of that name, and proud that it was once again mine.   In time, when I met the Rocket Man and we became seriously involved and talked of marraige, My Sweet Daddy welcomed him to the family and has been nothing but gracious and kind and inclusive both of my Rocket Man and also his girls and family.

No matter what the occasion, no matter how dark the day, no matter how wonderful the news, I still call him.  When I call and say, "Daddy?  Its Mollianne!"  he always answers, "Hello, Doll!"  Oh, how my heart is warmed and there is a peace that falls upon me.

Every man I meet is measured against My Sweet Daddy.  Very few make the mark, but some have.  Rocket Man does.  He possesses the same sort of  integrity, honor, wisdom and courage that my Daddy portrays.  I knew he was the real deal the day he reminded me of Daddy in those qualities. 

Still Daddy's Girl

Daddy's step is not so quick as it used to be.  His hands are weaker than those hands that lifted me from my crib after a night of loading boxes for Nabisco when he was in seminary.  He is learning to live with a recent diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease.  He lives with some degree of pain in his back almost all the time.  His years show more than they ever have.  But that intellect and wit and love are still there.  He is still, and always will be My Sweet Daddy.

While I won't be with him on Father's Day this year, my heart will be there.  Because there is a part of my heart that belongs to My Sweet Daddy. Him and only him.

As I write this, and think about the love we have shared, tears are falling from eyes and splashing on the keyboard.  They are tears of thankfulness for such as Daddy as mine. Tears of gratitude for the love that we share.  Tears of awe for the person he is and has been.  Tears of joyful remembrance for all the wonderful memories I have of and with him..  Tears from a tender heart of a Daddy's girl who has never known a world where he was not.  Tears of grief  for my friends and for my family whose Daddy's are no longer with us.

So I close with this.  Always this.  I love you, My Sweet Daddy.

Happy Father's Day.


One of the best things about  My Sweet Daddy is that he married My Amazing Mother!  She is a blog post, a story, a novel and a technicolor movie unto herself!  If you dont' know ought to!  What a woman.  And what a love story they share.  Father's Day isn't complete without thanking them both for showing us what a strong marriage could and should be.  I love you both!  More and more!