I am not a Daddy's little girl. I didn't really have a Daddy while I was growing up, and so it's hard for me even to imagine what being a Daddy's little girl feels like.
But last week, as I was going through all of my digital photos after a major computer crash, I began to relive my children's lives. And the number of pictures with Daddy and daughters jumped out at me.
Katie didn't know this was being shot. Our photographer just took candid shots while we were getting ready to pose, and she chose to lean on Daddy. She does that a lot.
Here she is trying to tip him into the water on our vacation in Jamaica five years ago. She managed it, too! She's rather tenacious, and never stops once she gets her mind to something. She often won wrestling matches with Keith when she was 7 and 8 because she would refuse to give up. She'd growl and charge, and Keith would laugh so hard that he couldn't fight back.
Katie is our "feeler". She needs to be touching someone at all times, which is probably why she likes wrestling, and probably why her "rest" position is to lean on Daddy. She even leans on her sister a lot--sometimes whether Becca likes it or not.
She's also a feeler in other ways. For those of you who have ever done any personality tests, like the MBTI, you'll know that personalities are often divided into "thinkers" and "feelers". Thinkers are those who make decisions based on logic, and feelers are those who consider others a bit more. Feelers are more sensitive, and often more social; thinkers are the doers. That's a big generalization, but the world needs both.
Keith, Rebecca and I are all heavy thinkers. Katie's a feeler. So she's all alone in this household of "heartless" people!
That's why Katie needs her Daddy. Sure Daddy isn't a feeler, but he is tender, and he is gentle, and he loves her dearly. And when she wants a hug, he is there.
When I wanted a hug when I was her age, I didn't have a man I could turn to. And so I turned to teenage boys. Not a good situation. I wanted a boy to tell me that I was important and lovable, and I searched for someone to put his arm around me, curl up next to me, or even just hold my hand. I needed that affection.
Katie needs it, too, but she has a Daddy who is there to give it to her. He guides her, tells her that she is beautiful, hugs her (even though he found it a bit awkward with both girls once they hit puberty; but he's over that), and he kisses her to sleep at night.
I do all of those things, too, but a little girl longs for a male to think that she is beautiful. And so I am glad that she has her father. I pray that she will marry a man just like her father, one who will not be afraid to be affectionate, one who will recognize her sensitive side, and even one who is willing to have wrestling play fights! And because she has a great dad, I am more than confident that she will have the wisdom to choose a man who will also be a great dad.
It is hard when your children do not have that. I know it was difficult for my mother, but in God's grace I married someone the polar opposite from my father. If you're a single mother, realize that even though your child will have a more difficult road, God can still lead her through it.
But perhaps you're married, and you're worried that you husband isn't doing enough with your daughters. He's not engaged enough with them; he doesn't tell them they're beautiful (and maybe he even picks on them a bit); and he generally doesn't spend much time with them. That's hard.
First, a word of encouragement. Even if your husband is not the most involved person in the world, just having a dad in the house tends to decrease the chances of all those really bad things we don't want our teens to do! So don't fret it too much.
But if you do want to change the dynamic in your home with dad and daughter, try making dinner times more of an event. Don't eat in front of the television; eat altogether as a family and actually talk. If you cook it and set the table, chances are he will come, especially if you ask him.
And then plan family things to do, whether it's bike rides in the summer or outings or picnics. Make family fun. If everybody seems content to sit in front of the computer or the television, take the initiative and plan something unusual! Create those memories yourself.
Finally, talk to your husband. I find that men often respond better to long term plans. Ask him what he wants your daughter to be like. Ask him what he wants his relationship with her to be like when he walks her down the aisle. Once he's articulated that, ask him how you can help him accomplish that. What does he want to do between now and then to make that a reality? If you think he's too harsh with her, then talk about that, too. But rather than harp on him for being harsh, why not create more fun times with your family so that everyone can relax! When we're able to laugh together, often these tensions dissipate.
I'm glad Katie has her Daddy. And I'm glad Rebecca has him, too. I thank God for him every night as I pray for my girls' husbands. And I know that they have good example, for they truly are Daddy's little girls.
Labels: divorce, fathers, parenting