I was not a ‘Daddy’s Girl,’ growing up. Although, I always wished I was. My Father was never in my life to even be a Daddy to me or my older brother.
As I look back at old pictures the other morning I tried to find just one picture of just my father and I when I was little, before I became an adult. I found exactly one. In the picture, it appears that my father was saying something to me. As I sat at my computer staring intently at this old picture of myself and my father, I wondered what it was that he was saying to me. What words he was apparently whispering to this 5 year old version of myself. How I long to go back to that time… just hear what it was that he was saying… and to be that little girl again, to see that man again in the innocent eyes of a 5 year old child; to be able to ‘see’ her Daddy just once again.
When my parents separated, I was in the third grade and I was eight years old, my brother was 10 and in the fifth grade. We lived in Charleston, South Carolina at the time because my father was active duty Air Force, and my mom said that she wanted to stay in the area so we could be close to our father and see him; although all her family was in Indiana, and she could have very well have moved us there. It would have been much easier for her to do that.
After my parents divorced my brother and I saw our father a handful of times, but not much to speak of. He remarried shortly after that, and his new wife had a son my age. They moved about 20 minutes from where we we living. Years past and my brother and I never heard from my father. I would call and leave messages for him on his answering machine. I would write really awful ‘poison pen’ letters to him asking him why he didn’t return my calls and why didn’t he want to spend any time with my brother and I. I also asked him if he had replaced us with his new family. I desperately wanted to be a ‘Daddy’s Girl.’ I can remember thinking so many times growing up
‘Why doesn’t my father love me, or want anything to do with me?’ ‘Did I do something wrong?’ ‘Why do all these other girls have these awesome Daddy’s and I don’t?’ ‘Why can’t I have what they have?’ ‘What is wrong with me?’
I was filled with all these questions, and it still left me filled with a desire for wanting more. More of what, I didn’t know. Not then anyhow.
This type of thing went on through my teenage years. He would drop off our birthday cards in our mail box on his way to work, with no postage stamp, just put it in the mail box. On my brother’s high school graduation, he actually showed up at the door and handed me a card for him, I think he wanted to see him, and give it to him, but Scott wasn’t home. I remember being sad for Scott that he wasn’t home when our father stopped by.
I went to see my father at his home a handful of times, and was left feeling very unfulfilled each and everytime. Like, it still wasn’t what I thought it was suppose to be. Now I know it was because he was a stranger to me. I had grown up without my father in my life and I didn’t really know him. I had placed him high up on a pedestal of how I thought that a ‘Daddy’ should be, should act, etc. When I went to visit him and he didn’t behave or react to how that ‘Daddy’-on-the-pedestal should, then my disappointment set in. If that makes sense. I had set myself up for disappointment in thinking that my Father should be a certain way. I was just a teenager who had longed for her ‘Daddy’ all her life, and he was never around.
But I had a false sense of who my ‘Daddy’ really was. I thought he was suppose to be this perfect, put together man who one day was going to come and say he was sorry for being a crappy Daddy and shower me with love and affection…and spend all this time with me. You know, the ‘good guy in the white hat.’ Well, that never happened.
It wasn’t until I met a young man who invited me to church in my junior year of high school (1987, I was 16 years old ) when things began to change my view of my father and life in general. I met Sean Qunell. Sean was a year ahead of me and worked at the gas station my brother and his girlfriend did. Sean was handsome, super quiet and very sweet. When he finally got up enough courage to ask me out, he invited me to church first.
I did not grow up going to church, so I was not use to going to church. Sean took me to his church; Gospel Light Baptist Church in North Charleston, South Carolina. A very tiny Southern Baptist Church. We started dating and I really enjoyed going to church. One Sunday morning, during Sunday School I felt very led to pray and ask Jesus to forgive me of my sins and help me to lead a better life by ‘coming into my heart.‘ Shortly after that I was baptized at the church. I have Sean to thank for inviting me to church in the first place.
Through my journey over the years in learning more about God, what my purpose is in life, I have learned a lot about not only myself but also about the people that God has place in my life along the way to help me through my journey. I am a firm believer in the notion ‘everything happens for a reason.’ Mainly because I know this verse in the Bible says:
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Which basically means, to me, whatever happens, God can make something good come from it. I firmly believe this, with all my heart.
I can look back, (and I have) at the all the different people that have been in my life (good and not so good) and I can see that God has had a purpose for them in my life. I may not know everyone’s purpose quite yet, but it has been such a blessing to me to look back at these people God has blessed me with.
And though I didn’t have the type of ‘Daddy’ relationship that I exactly wanted with my Father, I was blessed to have mended things with him before he passed…exactly one year today.