Sometimes I wish I had known to hold on to the good times.
But there’s no manual that comes with childhood…the kind that tells little girls that every moment spent with their daddy is something to be treasured.
For me, it was so much unlike what “all of my friends” had.
He worked the 11-7 or 3-11 most days. (He was a police officer.)
I rarely saw him for more than an hour or two at a time.
Occasionally he’d take me out for coffee (I got Dr. Pepper) or to the airport to see his buddies.
And once, he took me running with him. A day I’ve never forgotten.
It was all of those little moments and memories, the things that made up our version of daddy and daughter.
I thought he hung the moon, and when it crashed, so did my entire world.
I skipped school that day and I watched him go. His belongings packed into his white truck, a quick goodbye, and that was it…on that too-beautiful-for-anything-bad-to-happen, early-May day, I set a record for the fastest a wall could be built by a fifteen year old.
There was no way I was ever letting anyone in again.
The years that followed were a series of separations with a brief, very-occasional, few hours together thrown in there. But for the most part, this daddy/daughter relationship was gone.
Can I tell you something, friends?
That’s not ok.
Daughters need their daddies in their lives, and they need them to be All. There.
Because eight years later, I was getting ready to walk down the aisle. And to be honest, I didn’t know what I wanted.
Well, if we’re being completely honest here, I wanted to get married on a remote beach with a few friends there as witnesses. I wanted to forget the fact that there was that whole giving-the-daughter-away thing looming over my head.
But I couldn’t…because I’m Mel. Because I’m me and because my heart wanted to do the right thing, even if it was hard and it hurt and was one of the hardest things I ever had to do.
And so we walked down the aisle together. (I cried more than he did, but for the record, I don’t think his eyes were dry, either. )
And nothing magical happened that day, but those bricks from the wall I’d built around my battered heart did begin to fall.
And almost eleven years later? I have a daddy again.
Our relationship still looks different…but it’s a good one.
We only see each other a few times a year, and we talk about that often, too. But those moments are special and I hold them close to my heart and thank God that He was able to redeem such broken.
He called me the other night, out of the blue, and I LOVED that he called. It was mostly just chatting about life and family and running (my awesome daddy-o is running a marathon this year!!!)…and well,
I whispered thanks.
Because my Father redeems…and He gives.
And He gave me my daddy back. Happy Father’s Day, Dad. (A day late because…well, you know me. )
I love you. And I hope we have a lot more little moments to come.