Daddy’s Little Girl

Throughout my childhood, I remember having so much love for my father. I remember his special knock at the front door. I remember no matter what we’re doing, once my siblings and I heard that knock, we raced to the door to be the first one to get a hug.

When I was first, I would run to him and as he picked me up I would tightly wrap my legs and arms around him. My grip so tight he didn’t have to hold me up at all. He’d walked over to my mom and gave her a kiss while I was still holding on. Then he asked me about the day. I would give him a rundown of all the things mom had to yell at my siblings about.

I remember calling him Big Maurice when I reported the news and Daddy when I wanted something. He also noticed. One day, he told me, “It’s not fair, once I hear your sweet voice and look into your beautiful brown eyes, it’s impossible to say no.”  He looked at me and I remember his smile when he said,  “No matter how old you get, never stop calling me daddy.”

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I also remember the day when I refused to say daddy ever again. I was in the third grade and he was moving out. I was so mad at him that I wouldn’t say a word to him to entire week before he left us. My life was so different after that. I was in constant state of confusion and anger because my parents couldn’t work it out. No matter how much he gave me over the years, I refused to say, “Daddy”.

During my senior year in high school, I went to visit him. He pleaded for me to call him daddy and my voice cracked as I explained why I couldn’t do that. I tried to put into words the pain and abandonment I was feeling on a daily basis. My dad apologized for the pain he finally saw in my eyes and explained that no matter what I call him, I will always be his baby-girl.

Then he talked to me about his relationship with my mom. My mom is the love of his life, he said, and he will love her until he dies but he wasn’t good enough for her and she finally realized that. I admittedly objected. I remember the date nights; I remember him bringing her home her favorite food; I remember him dancing with her in the living room; I remember him cooking for her and all the good times in between. Our nearly four-hour conversation seems like a few minutes. I said “Talk to you later, Big Maurice”

Once I made it home, I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. I kept seeing my father tear up as he expressed his love for my mom. I was so confused but I was sure I never wanted to fall in love.

When I opened the door, the strongest woman I have ever met, my mom, was on the phone and without saying anything, she wrapped her arms around me. She gave me the phone and it was Big Maurice. I looked over at my beautiful mom as she made me a plate of dinner. She was truly happy as she sang along with the radio with a huge smile on her face.

Then it finally registered that my dad was saying goodnight to me. I know he said it at least three times already but once again he said: “good night MyChelle, I love you.” I utter without reservations, “Good night daddy, I love you too.” 

That summer I moved a few cities away to stay with my big sister and earn some college money. I would talk to my dad at least once a week. Those weekly calls gave me a chance to express my fears. With my mom, I put on a brave face but with my dad, it was unfiltered chaos. He always made me feel strong and capable. I remember during my second year of college, I took the 2-hour bus ride to his house and told him that I was done with college. I had experienced my first heart break and I didn’t want to go back. He listened to me cry and I feel asleep on his couch. He took me to breakfast the next morning and shared several stories about him and my mom. My daddy asked if I wanted him to take me to my mom house or back to school. I told him I wanted to go to school.

He was sick the weeks leading up to my graduation. He apologized because he wouldn’t be able to attend. I thought would be fine as long as mom was there. The day before graduation I went to visit him, while I was getting my hair and nails done. He was still in horrible shape and I told him I loved him. That night, my mom found out her ride wouldn’t be able to make it. She wanted me to know she was extremely sorry. She said she would ask my father, but I told her not to worry because I just saw the terrible condition he was in. She called me back an hour later and said my dad was bringing them up for my graduation.

I remember calling my dad and he said that my mom had a healing voice and it was too hard to say no to her. My graduation was one of the best days I had spent with my parents in years.  Over the next 11 years, our weekly calls became bi-weekly and eventually monthly. However, our relationship was still strong and our monthly calls would last hours.

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July of 2012 the monthly calls were now every other day. I went from living a few cities away to living several states away. We talked about everything, at least that’s what I believed. Late August, my sister informed me that my dad had lung cancer. I obviously didn’t believe her because he would’ve told me himself. I tried calling him and he didn’t answer. The next day, he called me and I remember saying “not just a summer cold?” His voice cracked as he said, “afraid not.” He told me he was home and doing better and he wanted to hear about me. We talked for a few hours and I said goodbye around 1:30am.

The next day I researched his cancer and I cried nonstop. I asked him to fight it because I really needed him more than ever. He promised he would and we talked over the next few days. After a day of radio silence from him, on September 13th of 2012, my sister called me at work. I remember my boss looking at me with sadness in his eyes as he passed me the phone.

After my sister told me he passed, I don’t recall anything but waking up in bed and my husband holding me. I cried uncontrollably for hours. I felt numb until Christmas. I knew this Christmas would be my first Christmas without him making fun of my love of this great holiday.  Although it has been five years since my father went home, this day is still hard for me. My journal is full of letters to him. I will always be daddy’s little girl.

What are your thoughts on grief? Does it get easier? Are you a daddy’s girl or a Momma’s boy? Do you have a daddy’s girl or a Mommy’s boy?

Until next time, shine amongst the stars.

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79 thoughts on “Daddy’s Little Girl

  1. I love my dad to the bone, but I don’t know if I could ever consider myself daddy’s little girl. Sure, I was the youngest, but I went to boarding school and my dad worked AROUND THE CLOCK thus I didn’t REALLY know him that well. But, regardless, my dad KICKS ass and I cherish every moment I do have with him!

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  2. I lost my dad in 2012 as well and was a daddy’s girl too. I’m so sorry for your loss. I feel that the pain never goes away you just learn to deal with it. Life has never been the same and I think if him always.

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  3. This is a great story and something we all could relate to in one way or another. It is hard to loose someone we love but we just have to think of the time we had with them. That is what everyone says anyway. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  4. I lost my dad to lung cancer 25 years ago. That meant 25 birthdays, Christmases, New Years, Father’s day without him. I understand how you feel. I am the eldest child, the spitting image of my father and I miss him terribly. A quarter of a century has passed and I still cry when I think of our happy times. Sending you a virtual hug.

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  5. Wow, what a beautiful and touching read. It’s so great that you were able to reconnect with your father and that he was able to take on some role in your life.

    My hardest moment dealing with grief was when we watched my grandmother die slowly. It was peaceful and she wasn’t in pain, but it was just too much. Especially with my grandfather who had Alzheimer’s and he kept forgetting what was happening to my grandma and we had to keep re-explaining to him what was happening a few times every day, and sometimes just lying so he didn’t have to go through it again and again.

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  6. I don’t know that I really had the chance to be either, to be honest. I think that my parents and I had some interesting times in our relationship. But I can feel the connection you had between you and your dad. I definitely crave that with my daughter.

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  7. I am so sorry for the heartache you had to endure from the loss of your father. I went through grief as a pre-teen and it is the hardest thing I have ever been through.

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  8. Oh my, this stirred up memories and tears! I’m definitely a daddy’s girl … or was. My beloved father passed away 15 years ago, on September 2, 2002. He was only 69. He had always been so big and strong, but lymphoma left him a weakened frail man who looked at least 20 years older! I really don’t think it ever gets easier. I still cry on special days (his birthday, Father’s Day, holidays, the date of his passing) and just any time a special memory springs up.

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  9. I can’t fathom losing my father. I don’t think losing a father is ever an easy thing even if they put us through some rough stuff. So sorry to hear your dad passed.

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  10. I am truly sorry for your loss. I am a Daddy’s girl as well, and now I have one. Honestly, I feel kinda like chopped liver sometimes, my daughter loves her Dad SO much. But she loves me, too and it’s nice to see their bond.

    Keep writing, too!

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  11. I love this post. I really do and don’t regret reading it even if it brings back not so fond memories of my parents as well. I always thought of myself as a daddy’s girl but with my dad’s current condition I realize that self-imposed role has made nurturing my relationship with him difficult on many levels. But my overall wish is for everything to turn out fine and I’m not giving up on him. Please know that this post has helped me, too 🙂

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  12. Your story is so beautiful and moving. I can’t imagine having to go through the grief of losing a parent, even though most of us will have to come to that time in our lives sooner or later. No matter how much times goes on, this day will always be a hard one for you, but you seem to have a loving and supportive family. Thank you so much for sharing, I’m sure it wasn’t easy!

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  13. I lost my mom almost two years ago. However we had a much different relationship. My parents never separated and I saw my dad’s love for her while she was in the hospital. He was there with her every single day. I also always had the best relationship with her. She loved all of us unconditionally. I miss her all the time. I could just call her any time day or night and she would be there for me.

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