Children (of all ages, including grown) need a daddy.
I know I did. I needed his protection, wisdom, and manly sweetness so different from anyone else’s.
Many people who grow up with dad in the house take him for granted. Only later, or perhaps after a heart attack or stroke do we realize what a gift our gentle giants are.
My situation was a bit different. I was adopted at the age of four.
I know what it’s like not to have a loving father. My birth father gave into his addictions–drinking and gambling. He allowed those addictions to take over his life. He neglected and then gave up his children–and he died not fully comprehending what he gave up.
The impact of his choices altered the course of my life.
But I got a second chance.
I remember the day I met my Daddy, my adoptive dad.
I hope you enjoy this is an excerpt from my forthcoming book, SAID CHILD, which is also the prequel to Mothering Mother.
“Your daddy’s a big man with salt and pepper hair,” Mama whispered in my ear when the bus pulled into the Atlanta station. I folded my knees underneath me so I could see out the window, over the heads of everybody milling around the bus. Then I spied an enormous pink teddy bear with a man’s arms wrapped around it. The man’s hair was black and silver in the sun and he had bushy eyebrows.
I knew it was him.
We had to wait to get off the bus. Mama carried me in her arms, and I watched him through every window. I don’t know how I could tell he was sweet, but I could. He looked all around, trying to find me and Mama, and I squirmed to get down.
I knew he was my daddy, and I ran straight to him. He scooped me up right next to that teddy bear and twirled me in one, two, three circles. I counted.
People say you can’t love someone you just met. I know better. It depends on how badly you need to be loved.
This man opened his home, his heart, and his arms to me every day from that day on.
He gave me everything he was and everything he had.
I said that my birth father changed my life, but if that’s true, then my adoptive daddy gave me a life of family–and hope.
Daddy passed away in 1985, and I still miss him.
But more than crying, I remember.
I remember who he was–and is. I remember his integrity. I remember everything about him–his bushy eyebrows, the folds of his knuckles, the way he’d pat my shoulder absentmindedly in church. I remember our countless nights of me catching fireflies while mosquito’s chomped at my legs, and Daddy holding the jar for me and looking up at the stars. I’d ask a million questions and he’d answer a million and one.
I remember my wedding day when he shut the doors just as I was to walk down the aisle and he said to me, “If you’re not 100% sure, I’ll take you out of here and you’ll never have to see him again.”
Always the protector.
I remember every day who I was and who I am with him.
Always his little girl.
So to all of you who still have your dads–or like me, miss your dads–Happy Father’s Day.
~Carol D. O’Dell
Family Advisor at www.Caring.com
Syndicated blog at www.OpentoHope.com