I’ve always wanted to be a Daddy’s Girl. I am my mother’s only child and the last of 6 for my father, so the role doesn’t seem at all far fetched, right?
I imagine being a little girl with my father, doted on, having my childish antics laughed at. I imagine being read to, played with, carried off to bed, being pushed on a swing- all the normal things that should come with childhood.
Instead, I got a lot of confusion and missed opportunities with my father. See, I was told that he (nor anyone) wanted me. My childish response to this was to not only believe it, but I considered myself a huge problem that could be discarded at any given moment if I didn’t do things just right. I did my best to behave in such a way that I was perfect and above reproach. I wasn’t of course, but I tried like my life depended on it, because surely, it felt like it did.
Looking at it as an adult with children of my own, it’s all just sad. I had room enough in my heart for everyone. Being selfish and playing “keep away” with me as the pawn was not at all necessary. I had/have enough room for both of my parents, I love them both dearly, even now, but we have all missed out on what could have been. That’s pitiful.
Another thing that bothers me that I am ready to admit is my feelings about my hometown. I was born and raised in Washington, DC, yet I feel so estranged and disconnected from the place. So much betrayal occurred there that has been exposed more and more over the last few years, I just don’t feel the love. It’s odd because the actual city did nothing, but the memories attached to it are there, hence the connection, or rather, disconnection. I want to have the love for my city that I see in so many friends who are still there. I want to be able to visit with no panic attacks, no anxiety that comes on intensely and suddenly at some weird moment when I’m not even thinking about anything. I want to just breathe it all in- it is a beautiful place- and feel I am home, a home where I want to be, a home where I am welcomed with genuine, unconditional love (not pretend “love”, I know the difference.).
As my father lay dying on October 31, 2009, I sang to him, talked to him, rubbed his face, feet and hair. I kissed him on the cheek and laughed because it was the first time I ever remember doing that. My sisters and I have all, and always kissed our father on the lips. I told him I was sorry we didn’t have a good relationship while he was here but we’d have all of eternity to get it right on the other side. I left his side moments before he slipped away and miss him dearly even now. I grieve what could and should have been and am grateful for what little I had with him. Much of what confused me about him doesn’t any longer, as I have been given a gift.
Three of my 5 siblings also died, but the 2 I have left are very much in my life. In fact, although my oldest (living) sister and I didn’t have much of a relationship growing up, we are now “as thick as thieves”. My sister has put into place many pieces of a puzzle I once saw as utter confusion and very painful. So much makes sense now. Much of it is heartbreaking and sad, but not all. Some of it is heartwarming.
You see, my father did want me. He loved and adored me. All the times he declared his love for me in person and in letters was the truth. I didn’t believe him because I was conditioned to believe otherwise, but it was true. All the friends and coworkers going on and on about how he went on and on about me to anyone who would listen, it was all true and all stemmed from the love of a father for his babygirl. My sister laughed and said, “Girl! He worshiped the ground you walked on! He even went on and on to the rest of us about you and what’s interesting is that we all felt the same. We all loved you and wanted you around more. No one was jealous at all. You were the baby, doing amazing things and we loved you.”
The coolest part of this is that God has gifted me in such a way that I see memories flash by, like a movie of collective memories and moments, all confirming what my sister has shared with me. It’s amazing, especially considering my father is gone and I can’t speak with him or my other siblings now.
So after all this time of thinking no one really wanted me for much beyond what I could do for them, it’s an enormous load off to know it was never true. I am and have always been loved and wanted. I pray you see that you are too. Signed, A bona fide Daddy’s Girl.