I wasn’t emotionally scarred after the death of my dad. To be honest, I remember very little about him. I was only five. And what I do remember has settled somewhere in that middle haziness drifting between what it is I THINK I remember and the stories others have told me. For example, do I remember his face? Or do I remember the face I’ve seen in pictures? The two are not the same.
The point is, I wasn’t traumatized. I didn’t go through some passionate, rebellious stage as a teenager to act out because I was fatherless. I didn’t crave the attention or love that I wasn’t getting at home or anything like that. But there were times…moments…snapshots that I felt like I was missing out on something. It feels like when all the other kids are talking about the school Valentine’s Day Party last week, but you had to miss it because you had a stomach bug. (You want to talk about traumatizing—I’m still regretting missing that Mulan party in fourth grade.) I could never put my finger just on it, but I definitely felt left out of some big secret.
I finally discovered what it was.
It was when I watched Doc hold Rosebud for the first time. Like she was so delicate that his big, clumsy hands might break her. Like there had never been another baby girl born in the entire world before his baby girl.
Right there it was.
So I wish I could tell you what an utter privilege it is to get to experience the father-daughter relationship for the first time. And maybe it’s even better from this side. Maybe I appreciate it a little more. Perhaps I let them dwell in their silliness for a little longer before reminding Dad about bedtime. And I am okay with their tent tea parties scattered about in the middle of the living room. Because regardless of what anyone says, there IS something special between a daddy and daughter. And as a mother, there’s no greater gift than to see it lived out before me everyday.
Love, and other drugs,
E. Hunter W.