Father’s Day is this Sunday, so I’ve got dad on the brain. Now that I’m an adult and a mother, I value Father’s Day so much more than I did as a child.
One of my favorite things about being a mom is watching the relationship between my husband and my daughter develop. I love witnessing how excited Desirae becomes when Aaron comes home from work. Or sitting with her as she stares at her bedroom door each evening waiting for Daddy to come kiss her goodnight. Or laughing with her as she rides on Daddy’s shoulders. There is nothing quite like the relationship between a girl and her father. Now that I’m a mom, I have the joy of watching it first hand.
As a girl, I always felt very close to my dad. I treasured my relationship with him. He was my first date, my hero, my protector, and my provider. When I was little, I knew that no matter what happened, as long as Daddy was around, everything would be okay. I didn’t have a care in the world. His presence gave me security and stability. His love gave me confidence to face my fears and pursue my dreams. If I made mistakes (like crashing the car, twice), he always offered me grace. When I had to make difficult decisions, Dad was there to give counsel and guidance. He was always ready to encourage me when I needed it, comfort me when I was down, and give me opportunities to do what I loved. I have an incredible dad, and he gifted me with a wonderful childhood.
It wasn’t until I moved out of my parents’ house and entered the world that I realized the importance of my relationship with my father. His involvement in my life affected me more than I knew. So much of my self-confidence was a result of all the kind and loving words he spoke to me for so many years. Dad always treated me with kindness, respect, gentleness, compassion, and love. I grew to expect that same treatment from my friends, my crushes, and eventually, the man who became my husband. Most importantly, my dad continually reflected Christ and the Father’s heart to my family and all my friends. I attribute much of my understanding of God as my Father to the role my dad has played in my life.
There doesn’t seem to be an end to my father’s influence in my life. A girl needs her daddy for so much more than money in the bank and food on the table. My father changed who I am as a person, and now, who I am as a mother.
When I was little, my dad would come into my room each night to wish me goodnight. I would lay in bed, snuggling with my teddy bear, and wait for him to come tuck me in. Sometimes he would ask me how I was doing, or he would tell me how proud of me he was. But on every night, he would gently stroke my hair and say a little prayer. Before he left the room, he would tell me how much he loved me and kiss me goodnight. That was our bedtime routine, every single night.
Here I am, years later, and I’ve found myself doing the exact same thing. Honestly, it never even occurred to me where I learned it from at first. I just started doing it. One evening, I began stroking my daughter’s hair and tucking her in at night. Now it’s a habit. Every night, Desirae waits for me to come to her crib and whisper those same words I heard so many times as a girl.
“May the Lord bless you and keep you, and cause His face to shine upon you. May He give you peace, good rest, and sweet dreams. May His angels watch you from ’round about and keep you safe. I pray that you will come to know Jesus and love Him with all your heart. Your mama loves you so.”
Then I kiss her goodnight and leave her to sleep until morning. Just like my daddy did for me.
I know Desirae will grow up, looking to her daddy for love and reassurance. She will steal those moments that she can snuggle on Aaron’s lap. Every day, she will need to hear how much her daddy loves her. I know Desirae will wait for her daddy to say how beautiful she is when she twirls in her favorite dress. I know Desirae will look to see her daddy in the crowd at her ballet recitals and choir concerts. I know Desirae will watch to see her daddy cheer her on at her basketball game. I know Desirae will wait to hear her daddy say how proud he is after she gets on A on her English paper. I know she will do all those things, because that’s what I did.
A girl needs her daddy, in more ways than one.
So this girl wants to say thank you to the two main dads in her life.
Thank you, Aaron, for being such a wonderful father to our little girl. Thank you for loving her, protecting her, and providing for her. Thank you for the way you care for her each day. Thank you for making her smile and laugh. Thank you for giving her a sense of safety and security. Thank you for putting her first and making sure she grows up in a community of people who love her selflessly. Thank you for sneaking her brownies, giving her colorful sippy cups, monochromatic outfits, and rides on your shoulders. She is still so little, but she loves you so much. No one could ever take your place in her heart. Even now, she looks to you to love her and keep her safe. Aaron, you are an amazing father. I wouldn’t want to be a parent with anyone else.
And thank you, to my dad, for all you’ve done for me for so many years. Thank you for loving me and always being there when I needed you. I know I can always count on you, even now. Thank you for caring for me and supporting me. Thank you for all your encouraging words. Thank you for believing in me even if I didn’t believe in myself. Thank you for giving me the courage and confidence to find my place in the world. Thank you for teaching me what it means to be gracious, kind, and understanding. Thank you for setting the example of what a wonderful father, man, and husband should look like. I wouldn’t have found Aaron if you weren’t in my life to set the standard. Thank you for welcoming Aaron into your life and being the best grandpa to my little girl. Thank you for teaching me what it looks to be a Godly parent. Thank you for being obedient to God in your role as my father. And thank you for every goodnight kiss and evening prayer. I know your prayers over me impacted my life in ways that I may never understand. I hope that someday my daughter can say the same thing. I love you, Dad.
Happy (almost) Father’s Day to you both.