I see you, sweet girl.
You watch my babies with their daddy and see something you long for.
You see a man, who after a long day’s work, changes into play clothes and wrestles on the floor with his kids. You see a man whose children are his whole world, not a chore on a checklist. You see kids who know they are fully loved and completely safe with him.
You laugh and you smile as you watch and then are delighted when you are included, but in the pauses, I see it flit across your face.
The question . . . why is he like this when you have never ever known your own dad to be like this?
You would give anything to play and wrestle with your dad. To feel wanted and not looked at as an obligation or an object used to prove to the world he’s a good man. To feel safe and not as if you are walking on eggshells or waiting for the bottom to fall out.
When our daughters run into his arms and his whole face lights up, I see it then too. He loves them as they are, and he’s absolutely their knight in shining armor. I see the longing to have your dad delight in you and the question of why he doesn’t and why you aren’t enough rips straight through your heart.
I see it. I get it. I remember it well. Because my heart, too, bears the scars of a dad who didn’t quite care. He definitely didn’t care enough to stay.
I grew up listening to some of my friends gush about their daddies, and I just didn’t get it. My mom was my world and I was hers. My dad was someone I got a call from once a month and saw once a year. As we grew older and those friends lost their dads, I would’ve kindly offered mine in their place. I wouldn’t hurt the way they were.
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Hear and believe me, dear one. I know this hurts, it always will. It will never feel fair, but it will strengthen you. The woman you will become despite the obstacles and heartache is who you were designed to be by someone who calls you worthy. He knit you together. He loves you. He is for you. And for those reasons alone, you are going to be OK.
And when you have weak moments, we will be here to stand in the gaps.