A Treasure of Incomparable Worth: Father

Shoulders and calves. Oily scalp and big teeth. Sense of humor and charisma. Eloquence and fetching smile. Temper. Sweet tooth. Optimism and open mind. Intelligence and sophistication. Impatience and obstinacy. Cynosural wit.

My father gave these things to me. Some I didn’t want. Many I will always be grateful for. All of them make me his daughter.

***

She will start out small. Small hands. Small feet. Small smiles in the thick of sleep. She will not stay that way, however. She will grow. And you must grow with her.

She will start to get curious, and look to you for guidance; ask you how this is done, how that works. And you must show her. You are busy, but you must not let that interfere with your first responsibility. You are Dad. She doesn’t understand bills. She knows nothing of aching bones and hard earned money. She knows that you pay attention to her, or that you do not.

Teach her of compassion and sensitivity. These things are equally important to courage and strength. You must be enough of a man to let her do your make-up. Soft enough to cry when you are sad, and strong enough to tell her no even when it makes her angry . . . especially when it makes her angry. Your pride and ego comes second to her character and development. Father means sacrificing time, money, and sometimes both at once. There will be a season of eudaimonia; when the “I love you’s” will flourish, and hearing “Daddy” is as common as peanut butter. She will revel in your delight of her, and spin in circles just so you can see the air fill her skirts, the sunlight turn her eyes golden. But it will not always be that way. She will grow. And you must grow with her.

She will adore you. You will be her hero. She will trust you and never think twice of the possibility that you might be wrong, might not know everything there is to know about life. There will be no other man but you. Enjoy this. Appreciate this. Because it will not always be so. Take advantage of every moment, every opportunity, and make the most of it. You are changing her life every minute you spend with her.

It is from you, dad, she will learn of her self-worth. She will decide how much or how little she deserves to be loved by how greatly you first loved her. She will say “No” to the wrong ones, but only if she knows better. What you expose her to will stay with her her entire life; the good and the bad, so be careful. Make wise choices. Teach her everything you know. Help her be a better person, the very best version of herself. Do not try and make her something she is not. Don’t criticize her for being less than what you hoped she would be, and do not punish her for accidents and mistakes. That is how she will learn. You must give her room to fail, and be there with open arms when she realizes that . . . you were right after all.

Spend time with her. Take an interest in the things she likes, and let her teach you. This builds confidence. Force your presence on her if you must, because she might just be a little too cool to tell you that she wants you around.

It will be increasingly difficult to watch this baby of yours become a little girl, then a young lady, and at last a woman. Give her room, but don’t wander beyond arm’s reach. She will need you yet to come. She’s watching you. Closely. Your actions, your words, how you respond to adversity, stress, and the pitfalls of life — she will learn how to react, manage, and cope from you. Or she won’t. Be there. Always. Be around to instruct her when she’s faltering. To offer the wisdom she might flout at because, to her, the words “life experience” are synonymous with old. Most importantly, be around to hug her when she needs her daddy again.

Even if you weren’t perfect, even if you did a few things wrong, and even if there are some things she wishes you would have done differently, she will be the kind of woman that takes you whole, for the man you are. She will know if you tried to love her well. And if you’ve done a good job, if you’ve less mistakes than successes, you will have the honor and privilege of walking her down the aisle; of being the one to give her away.

But in your heart you will know that this is a lie. You will never completely give her to anyone. Because she was yours first. Small hands. Small feet. Small smiles in the thick of sleep. Know that she belongs to you, but don’t tell her. It’s important that she believe she belongs to that man who, hopefully is a little like you in some ways. And if not, it’s because she didn’t need two dads.

And when she is married, and has a whole other life that, quite honestly you are a much smaller part of now, she will still choose to spend time with you.

Because she wants to.

Because she loves you.

Because you don’t outgrow your dad.

She will put her head close to yours, look into your face knowingly, and this time it is her turn to be proud of you. 

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I love you,

~ Twerpy

And to all of you fathers raising your sons and daughters: thank you for taking your responsibility seriously. She will continue growing older, and he might even start to resemble an adult, but you . . . you will always be daddy.

Happy Father’s Day.

40 thoughts on “A Treasure of Incomparable Worth: Father

    • He did! I cannot believe it, as he is not a blog-man, but he read it and even went so far as to comment. ;-)
      I hope today is filled with the celebration and honor of that special man in you and your daughter’s life.

  1. Changing diapers, getting her to school on time, letting her know its OK to make mistakes….(because we ALL certainly make our share), love and sometimes tough love…it is your child….the most important thing you’ll ever do……there is no handbook so lead with your heart….and this beautiful swan will evolve…because of or in spite of……..she is my little girl…..Thank you for making every day Fathers Day….and for the love forever filling my heart………………Dad

    • Dad . . . I had to blink twice to make sure the “Michael” I saw commenting was you! Thank you for leaving your thoughts for me; a very special treat to wake to this morning. See you soon.
      Xoxox

      • A wise man you married, that one. What other endeavor is there, right? There is smart and successful, and lots of other qualities that fall in between. But to raise good humans . . . there is nothing more worthy or worthy celebrating than that.

  2. This is such a sweet tribute, Cara. So pure and touching, it made me cry! I’m sure your Dad is just about the proudest papa ever today! He must have done something right, to raise such a beautiful and talented daughter. Hope you two get to spend a lovely day together!

    Love you!

    Lori

  3. What a beautiful post, Cara. I still have tears lingering in the corners of my eyes from reading your words of thoughtful guidance. You did a wonderful job of capturing the important and joyful duties of being a father, a parent. I hope you have had a wonderful day with the special men in your life. xo, Amber

  4. This is so great. I shared it with my husband and he thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s everything it should be and more. I hope you were able to spend time with your dad. I was lucky enough to have my first father’s day with my “dad” yesterday. My mom married my “dad” when I was a freshman in college and they moved away the next year to Florida for his his post-doc position. I never had a chance to be with them in person on Father’s Day until yesterday. It was a very touching day for me…I am so blessed that my mom and dad found each other…he is the best thing that happened to my family, he taught me what a “dad” was supposed to be and I thank God for him everyday!
    Hope you are having a terrific Monday :)

    • Hello, my friend!

      I am so, so glad you shared this with your husband. In fact, because most of my readers are women, I was hoping that would be the case. Yes, it was most certainly a tribute to my own father, and to the Father in heaven who loves more than anyone, but it was also a tribute to all fathers taking full share in the responsibility to raise their children.

      I don’t know if I have ever told you this: I worked as a nanny for over 10 years. I watched many fathers father their children. Some did it well. Some did it poorly. Some did so little it couldn’t be considered parenting. A dad’s role is vital in his child’s development — from day one! While working as a nanny, I heard a lot of “The baby just needs her mommy right now. Once he/she is older than I will teach her (fill in blank)” That saddens me. A dad is a dad from conception. But he has to choose.

      That was a bit of rant there, wasn’t it? :-) You bring it out in me, Ninali. I am going to have to limit myself t a word-count when we exchange letters. lol.

      Oh, how amazing, Ninali. I can imagine how special yesterday was for you . . . I am smiling, thinking about the day you must have had, surrounded by your own wonderful man, your sweet babies, your mother, and the man you call dad. What a beautiful day it must have been.
      We did have a fantastic day, thank you. We celebrated and we ate. And we ate some more!

      Happy Monday to you!

      ~ C

    • Thank you, Maria! It was certainly my pleasure to share him, and my hope for fathers universally, with all of you. ;-)

      Oh, Maria, I have no doubt you are wielding those words something fierce today.
      Happy Monday to you!

  5. beautiful poetry! Thanks for the ‘like’, it’s nice to see others respecting their father & the way you have so eloquently described how most of us feel is worthy of praise.
    Looking forward to reading more.

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