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I wanted a daughter since the age of 10. There were things inside of me that were inherently broken. Even then.

As I aged, there was an ever-present fantasy script in my head that one day watching my husband with his daughter would somehow magically heal the broken parts inside of me. And in all fairness, it may have.

But that’s not how my story went.

When I was pregnant and learned I was having a girl, it was not lost on me that as a fatherless daughter I was finally having a daughter. A daughter who would also, in essence, be fatherless.

I was pretty mad at God and the universe for a really long time. It was a dirty, dirty trick, I thought.

I spent most of my life feeling as if there was a missing piece. As if something was inherently wrong with me because my father didn’t want me. (Side note: My mom was amazing. This has nothing to do with her.)

This internal dialogue was the basis for most of my life choices. How I viewed myself. How I viewed my worth. This brokenness, unbeknownst to me, dictated most of my life and my self-value. It showed up most clearly in who I dated. Who I ultimately married.

It wasn’t until my dad passed away, two months after my daughter was born and seven months after my husband left, that I started to realize the truth.

I sat in a hospital room every day for a week watching my dad die. In those days I realized for the first time ever that my worth was not based on my father’s inability to be a parent. My worth was not based on his inability to be in my life. None of his demons and actions and choices had anything to do with me. Not a single one. They all had to do with him. I was just a casualty of his personal war.

It was somewhere during that time that it all made sense: I was sent a fatherless daughter to heal me at the most perfect time.

My daughter is amazing. She’s as beautiful as she is bright. Zero of her worth is defined by the fact that her father is not in her life. None. My daughter did nothing to cause someone who should love her not to.

A father. A father is someone who shows up because that is the nature of his job description. My daughter had nothing to do with her father abandoning that role. And, through watching her and walking through this with her, I realized neither did I.

The script in my mind for most of my life was that watching my daughter with my husband was going to heal me vicariously through them and their love. Watching her and her father have tea parties and play house and falling asleep together. They were going to love each other so much that it was going to fix the broken pieces inside of me. That’s not reality. And none of that happened.

But, my daughter did in fact heal me. She stopped cycles just by being alive.

She is the cycle breaker.

She’s beautiful. She’s smart. She’s perfectly imperfect.

And, she has taught me more in her short life than I ever could have imagined.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page


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Jacqueline Waxman

Jacqueline Waxman, M.Ed living in New Jersey with her kids. I’m a social worker by profession and Mom by choice. I chauffeur children to their preferred destinations, feed-bathe-and-clothe my little people when we are not playing outside. Passions include writing, photography and advocacy. You can find me on Facebook at

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