Forever Daddy’s Girl

I have been fortunate lately. Really fortunate. A wake-up call came, and I was called back home.

Back to my parent’s nest of protection.

Whenever I travel back home, I travel back in time. It is impossible not too. Home is where my heart is, it is also where our stories are kept safe. Boxes of family photos, books that still sit just so, everything in its place just like it has always been.

Then we reminisce. Of course, we do. Our past is our history. History is what keeps our family grounded and whole.

I always revert to a little girl. Pretty funny thing to do when you are in your forties, but I do it. Every single time.

My family is eccentric. Both of my parents are one of a kind. They have been selfless and inspiring in many ways.

I am their first child and their only little girl.

This is my father’s story. Actually, this is my translation of what my childhood was like having him as my dad, witnessed through my little girl eyes.

My dad gave his children many gifts. Not all at once, most often not when we thought we needed them or advice. His offerings came from deep within his heart. Quietly delivered, their profound meaning would blossom over time, developing into brilliant pearls of wisdom that will be treasured forever.

He is self-made. His is self-taught. He is guarded and quiet. He is still water that runs so deep even a professional scuba diver would fail to reach the bottom.

We children, his offspring, often scratch our heads pondering his variegated soul.

Dad taught us everything he knew. He still does. Because of him the three of us, his legacy, carry all kinds of cool knowledge, personality quirks and sublime humor within us.

Father’s Day is fast approaching, and yet again I will not be in attendance.

I don’t think that parents or loved ones should be celebrated on a specific day.

Every day is a good day to acknowledge our love and appreciation. This letter should have been delivered many times through the years, from my hand to his. I regret being so laissez-faire gambling with what really matters.

So here goes everything, well not everything, just enough to set the record straight.

Dear Dad,

I think that you fail to realize how much you mean to me. I don’t blame you, for years and years I was a nightmare child. I know what that feels like now. Sorry for all the agony I put you through.

You waited outside of the delivery room for what was it … twenty plus hours? Listening to your wife, my mother scream as she struggled through what should have been deemed a life-threatening delivery must haunt you still. How you held it together during those long hours, is a mystery to me.

When you saw me for the first time, I am surprised that you did not faint. I entered this world ass first. Full breach. When the nurse passed me to you, my legs were locked in place right next to my ears. What a sight that must have been. How long did it take for my legs to stretch out into their proper position? You told me once, I forget.

Those legs rendered me knock-kneed, and pigeon toed. You and mom made sure that I had everything I needed to correct what could have been a crippled gait. Thank you for that. I appreciate my legs; they have afforded the best transportation. I have walked along many paths, across alleys, up steep hills, and down valleys. You were with me, every step of the way dad. Every step I took, I thought about you.

© Julie Anderson All Rights Reserved
© Julie Anderson All Rights Reserved

I remember afternoons spent sitting cross-legged on the floor, you stretched out by my side, as we watched endless episodes of Leave it to Beaver and The Andy Griffith Show. You grew up watching the antics of the Beav and dopey Barney Fife; I think you probably daydreamed wishes that that was your childhood. Safe. Warm, welcoming with wafts of baked apple pie tickling your nose and the consistent presence of rational caregivers. Your wish became the reality you gave your children. Thank you, dad, for doing what you thought was right, not what you were taught.

We had so many adventures, where to begin?
The rescue of the orphaned duckling is one of my favorites. His little feet and soft downy feathers covered in water droplets as he circled in the bathtub will forever be stenciled in my mind. Mom was so mad at us. Ha. Duckling poop was not going to be an addition to her mom chores. Her plate was already full. Working full time, then cooking the best meals for us and giving everything she had to her family was an enormous load as it was. Bye, little duckling, I hope you found your momma, she must have missed you while you were away entertaining four-year-old me and my dad, who was just a big kid wearing the head of the household suit.

© Julie Anderson All Rights Reserved
© Julie Anderson All Rights Reserved

Dad, I forgive you.
It must have been painful to push me despite my screaming protests to continue my personal battle of mastering the two-wheeled bicycle that was shiny with new. The freedom gained from learning to balance and focus on the road ahead has been inestimable, long after that bike rusted away.

Picking blackberries.
Stopping at random to gather wildflowers for mom.
Jumping into uncharted waters, lakes dark as night that were cool as ice, waves salty and turbulent, leaping off diving boards that must have been three stories high, all of those things would never have happened had it not been for you.
Adventure, that is the word. A sense of wild abandon, curiosity and the fearless pursuit of what could be, thank you for that gift you gave to me.

Intellectually speaking, if it weren’t for your tutelage in the brilliance of sarcastic wit, I don’t think I would have made it this far. Some say that sarcasm is the lowest form of intelligence, I disagree. Sarcasm, when employed at just the right moment, can slay dragons. I use this weapon often. Thank you again.

Humour, is not the same for other people. Our family has cornered the market on that precious possession. Thanks to you we know that life, even when it delivers steaming manure on a plate, also gives us a chaser of hysteria to wash away the bitter taste.

I wish I had thought of this before, but I wonder how many times over the years we have laughed so hard at ourselves, and the idiot moves we have made until our sides inevitably split? Endless tears brought forth by laughter streaming down our cheeks, what good times.

© Julie Anderson All Rights Reserved
© Julie Anderson All Rights Reserved

As the years moved on gray hairs sprouted, grandchildren were born, other kinds of phenomenal shit hit the fan, but you were always there.

A beacon of reason, the only one that any of your children respected.
I know, I know, half the time we did not employ your sage advice.
That did not stop you, though; you have always been willing to give us more.
Thank you, dad, for listening, really listening to us.
You heard our hearts beat with sorrow; you watched us develop beyond what society and youthful mistakes placed in front of us.

So far, Dad we made it. Despite every dip and fall, we are in one piece. Glued together here and there, but aren’t we all?

I hope that I make you proud, Dad.
I want you to know that I looked for you in each dark corner, behind every monster and even when I felt utterly alone.

You were always there for me. I felt you in my heart.

Thank you for being my daddy.
I love you.


Your Little Girl

Photo: ©Julie Anderson All Rights Reserved

  1. Pandora-
    Thank you for your compliment.
    I am so sorry for your loss- you are still that little girl you know. Be nice to yourself. Love yourself. And know this, HE lost the most beautiful treasure in the world. You.

  2. What a beautiful tribute to your dad, Julie. He is proud of his little girl, love never stops no matter what. It made me think of my own father, although he was an invisible figure for many years, love remains. We are glued together like you said, all we need are the good memories to make us feel more human. <3

  3. What a cool, real, loving way to honor such a cool cat (feel like I know him now)! Beautiful, heart filled essay Julie! Dad’s are so important. And this one is yours! Lucky girl!!! xox!!

  4. Julie, what a beautiful read. Thank you so much for sharing your childhood story. It was really touching and ‘hit’ a nerve or two making me think of my beautiful and carefree childhood. I was daddy’s little girl too. Unfortunately, I did not have the same luck as you when entering my teens (my dad left to go to another country and work and never came back). So although I do talk to him once in a while over the phone, he’s not the daddy I once knew. That daddy is gone 🙁 . Now he’s just an acquaintance that has his own family.
    Anyways, once again, thank you for sharing your touching and lovely story. ♥ (((hugs to you and your awesome dad!)))

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