Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Daddy's Little Girl

How many chances do we get at being a father?

I've always thought being a man was about being tough and strong. I put a great deal of emphasis on providing for my family and protecting them. I believe it's safe to say most fathers (real fathers) feel the same way. Looking back...   the hardest thing for me to do on a continual basis was share my emotions. I gave my family most things that I thought would be beneficial for their survival. Yet I sometimes wonder if I gave them all the tools necessary to endure the long haul of life. I now look back and wonder if I gave them all of me. It would be easy to take the less painful road and say it's not about me. I could blame everybody and everything... I could open the door to excuses. Yet, I've come to believe that would be closing the door on growth.

I've stated that I didn't have a defined purpose for blogging. I've noticed some come on their blog and say hello family. I really appreciate those that stop by my site, if only to lurk. Even more so, to those that have raised their hands as followers. Those that have been courageous enough or curious enough to leave a few words of encouragement and wisdom. Maybe... just maybe my purpose is being defined for me through my sharing and your thoughtful comments.

Now, how does one prepare for the departure of their only daughter. In many ways my daughter was a bond that kept my family together. She was an integral part of my family unit. She was not planned. Her mother and I were kids playing house and she became pregnant while we were in high school. We married and struggled as young parents .....We shared dreams and spent many days and nights preparing our daughter for the day I will never forget.

Being a young father .....I was just like the birds and the four legged animals that had to find safety in a tree. I could change my spots to look like a man and talk like a man but I wasn't a man. I seldom reached inside to find the soul of a man. I had always mimicked my father... he was a great influence on my life... I watched his moves but I never saw his tears. When I became a boy with a child I was scared and insecure... I masked my fears and shoved those emotions behind. I thought it wasn't manly to show fear... I found it hard to admit that I didn't know how to handle certain things, like my emotions and insecurities. I was about to leave my daughter on the steps of a large University.... with strangers.

My daughter had never seen me cry... my wife had never seen me cry truth, after leaving my parents home ... I had never cried. I thought back to the day my father told me to leave his home and go raise my family... I remember his pain .....I now was sharing those same emotions. I wondered if I was making the right decision or was I living through my daughter by suggesting she go to a large University far away from home, when she could have gone to a local college with similar benefits. Did I think her chances of being an Olympic star were greater my dream?

My wife and I were about to leave our daughter at her new home ....The University of Kentucky. We were proud yet fearful ....I was her track coach. I had accompanied her on most of her trips. My wife would always be by my side ....assisting as mothers do ....she even ran along during training ....we used her as a rabbit. My daughter would spot her yardage and try to beat her to the line. My son was along ....he was just joyful of the promise of a Happy Meal. My daughter was a high school and national age group champion .....she now was going to Kentucky ....A College National Champion.

In many ways my wife and I didn't plan for this day. Sure, we planned for our daughters new day but not our lives together, without our little girl. The days were gone when we would nudge one another to see who would change her diaper or pick her up from practice. There would be no more loading of the car .....the four of use for family trips to wonderful cities. What would my wife and I do when we didn't have our daughter around? Someone we felt we had to stand guard over. Was this like retirement? Was I retiring from being daddy and she daddy's little girl.

I couldn't fake this one... I couldn't change my spot from a sad, insecure and fearful father to one that appeared as if he had it all together... this was real. Emotions flooded me ....I looked at my wife for answers ....her eyes and posture told me that she too had visited a dark place. Emotions I seldom dealt with, invade my soul ....rationalization and ambiguous thought were no match for the pains and discomfort I was feeling.

I was the leader of the family. As we got closer to the moment of goodbyes ....I again looked in the eyes of my wife... and with some reserve and trepidation .....I looked into the eyes of my daughter ....they both were looking for answers from their leader. That was a defining moment in my life. At that moment I think I became closer to being a real man ....I lost it ....I cried ....I couldn't talk, I cried. I showed my vulnerability ....I didn't have all the answer and I didn't know anything else to do.

I miss my wife.


♫Musiques Poetry♫ said...

Touching posts. I remember me going of to college and my dad, mom and I crying. It was a change. It was also a change for my uncle who raised me. It was actually crazy for my family. It was as if they were losing their baby, but they managed. I'm praying for you

Anonymous said...

Yeah, been there, done that. Sooner or later we have to face the hard fact that they are grown up and on their way to becoming adults and no longer needing us as they once did. It's difficult. In a way it also signals the end of our productivity and youth. A change of life in the truest sense of the word.....Great post!

25champ said...

Great post...I admit I'm not ready for the day my little girls leave home..but I will trust in God no matter how insecure I feel...I remember all the sacrifice it took 2 get this far and although I'm not perfect I do believe that I give them my all good or bad...thanks for sharing as I prepare for your similar journey

CareyCarey said...

Hello all,

raising children is one of the hardest things for a man to do, and the responsibilies incumbent within that task... never stop until we are laid to rest. As 25champ implied, we all fall down, but one of our responsibilties is to show our children how to get up in times of struggle, and what source we can use to do just that.

Thanks for stopping by Musiques Poetry, I love your writing style.

Hi, Desertflower, I hope you medical issues are getting better, or at the very least, I hope you've found a source that allows you to get through your days with a little peace.

SLC said...

I always thought having two boys first would better prepare me for being a father to a growing girl. Nope!!! I'm grateful for my wife helping me balance all of this and always letting me know I don't have to fix everything.

Great post.
Now back to lurking....