When I was a little girl (hard to imagine sometimes that I was ever little but I was—I have photos to prove it!) I loved it when my Daddy came home (unless, of course I had been mean to Mom, which is a whole different story). Blonde curls bouncy and blue eyes beaming, I would run to meet him, fling myself into his arms and declare triumphantly, “I got first kiss!!!”
When I was a teen, the into-his-arms-flinging stopped but the admiration did not. I remember thinking ofra friend who was struggling and saying to myself, “If she could just come and live with us for a while, my Dad would help her make things right.” It was my Dad I sought for comfort when I tipped the loaded spud truck over into the barrow pit and my Dad I coerced into attending my graduation. To me, Dad was bigger than life and better than bread.
Now, as an adult, I still call on my Dad for help. “The neighbor’s goat has a kid stuck in the birth canal. What should I do?” “Grace needs a place to stay.” “About this student in first period that I want to maim……..”
Dad has given me countless gifts, the most memorable of which are the intangible ones. When I was in elementary, his gift of a mare gave me confidence and identity. In a classroom of first grade horse lovers, I actually owned one! His gift of a ewe, again in elementary, gave me priceless lessons in things like being responsibility, facing fears, working hard, and managing money. I had to feed, water, vaccinate, dock, castrate, and generally care for the critters even when it was dark and cold (really cold in Idaho!!) outside. His constant optimism gave me an “I-can-do” attitude of accomplishment. His constant faithfulness gave me an “I-will-do” attitude of obedience. His constant stories (most of which were generally true) gave me a love of story-telling and adventure.
Many are the gifts my father has given me. Unquestoinably the most important gift given me by my father was love. My Daddy loved me. I never questioned that. He loved me. Even when he yelled at me for failing to close the gate, spanked me for playing instead of putting the sleeping bag away, or knuckled me on the head for being sassy to Mom, I knew he loved me. I grew up in a confident cocoon, safe in the knowledge that my Daddy loved me. I was his “stinky-poo”, his “little girl”, his beloved daughter. And I always will be—I always will be his “little girl”, a daughter beloved as only a daughter can be.
And, because I knew my father’s love, it has easy for me to know my Father’s love. Having grown up in a home where love from my father came naturally and without condition, it was natural for me to accept the reality of a Divine Father who loves me unconditionally. Through my father’s love for me, I feel The Father’s love for me. And that is the greatest Father’s gift of all.
Happy Father’s Day!