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The Love of a Dad

January 21, 2011

Today marks 18 years since my Dad died.  That is a stinkin’ long time.  He has missed a lot in my life (from age 14 on) and all these years later, there are still some days that my heart aches for him – mostly because I feel like a big explanation for where I came from is missing.  But most days, his memory is like a warm blanket for my heart.

I never realized how prevalent the mention of a father-daughter relationships are  in everyday life until my Dad was gone.  That dang song “Butterfly Kisses” made my stomach lurch each time I heard it.  Letting go of all the things my Dad missed out on has been the last “bitter” pill of his passing for me to swallow.  I just recently realized that I’m still holding onto it  as I was flipping through kids books at the library and noticed that I was so disgusted by seeing the father-daughter kids books that I couldn’t even fathom that I should borrow the book to highlight my own daughters relationship with her amazing Dad, Joel.  And at that moment, in the library, as I teared up over the title of a children’s book, I prayed that my heavenly Dad would somehow help me to let that go.

Joel is an absolutely amazing dad to our kids.  To say he is active in their lives doesn’t seem like strong enough language to convey his relationship with them.  I often romanticized my relationship with my Dad but truth be told, he was very busy working to provide for our family and when he wasn’t working on a construction job, he was working to repair or add to the house that he’d built. He did the best he could to share himself with us – I have fond memories of going to jazz festivals and hanging out in his workshop with him – but there just wasn’t a lot of him to go around after his basic responsibilities were taken care of.

The tender relationship that Joel has with our children has somehow helped me to swallow this last bitter pill of the memories I didn’t get the chance to make with my own Dad.  It doesn’t discount the relationship I had with my Dad, but works to calm my fractured heart.  Because if she is not her daddy’s little girl, I don’t know who is!  She is not made to feel like a burden or an after thought with him – Joel always manages to find time for her ever-changing moods and silly antics.  Joel loves her so dearly and it is a poignant reminder for me of the fact that my Heavenly father loves me that much  and then a whole lot more.  I can now see that nurturing the relationship between my husband and my daughter doesn’t have to make me cringe with sorrow for my Dad but rather rejoice in the many good times I had with him.  And it reminds me that as imperfection runs through all our veins, that it is only my Heavenly Dad that can restore our hurt and hope.  It’s not anything my Dad could have done even if he had been here every minute of these last eighteen year.

There is a certain freedom in letting go of that last strong thorn in my side that sometimes came up with my Dad’s memory.  As I embrace hope this year, I am choosing to let go of the fear that  father-daughter relationships other than the short one I had with my Dad somehow lessen me as a daughter and instead am clinging to the hope that the daughter I’ve always been is enough.

This year, I’ve  let the love of my Heavenly Dad heal that last bit of hurt from the things my earthly Dad missed.  I will marvel in the sweet relationship Joel continues to nurture with our sweet Gal. And that allows my heart a deep and long overdue exhale.  Oh How He Loves

–Ingrid

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 21, 2011 7:53 am

    Ingrid,

    Beautiful…so real…and so true. What an amazing thing when we ask God to heal those extra painful and sensitive places in our hearts. My father hasn’t died, but I didn’t have a good relationship with my dad at all (it was quite abusive actually). It took a long time for me to “like” those children’s books about father-daughter relationships…and now I am married to a wonderful man who really loves his daughter and my sons have become his sons. His relationship with all of them is so important to him. He is really a great daddy. I can finally look at those books and smile…and borrow them for our kids.

    I will keep you in prayer as you walk this road of Hope this year. God is doing a great work in you! 😀 Enjoy the wonderful feeling of exhaling!!! Its amazing! 😀

    Building Home with Him,

    Mary Joy

  2. January 21, 2011 8:23 am

    Thanks for this post. I love how you describe the relationship between Joel and your kids: Tender. If that word is used to describe my relationship with my kids at my funeral (it’d also be nice to be used for my relationship w/ my wife), then I’ll consider it a life well-lived.

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