I was one of two Daddy’s Little Girls, not that I was a twin, there being several years between us.
It was Dad who bathed my scraped knees, Dad who followed behind my bike with the walking stick hooked on the back until I got my balance. It was also Dad who saw to my verucca, dressing it every day until it nearly took his eye out when it erupted forth from the heel of my foot, leaving a considerable hole which miraculously had disappeared by morning without so much as a mark.
It was Dad who helped me with my homework, Dad who encouraged me with my music and played silly duets with me on the piano as a child.
This is by no means disrespectful to my Mum. Mum showed me how to knit, crochet, cook, and when I was poorly, she provided the TLC that only Mums can. The day after wash day, I would set up my own little ironing board as she plugged a small iron into a light socket, and I’d help with the laundry by doing the hankies. I kept my room clean and tidy and helped with the dishes after dinner.
Dad got me through my first boyfriend breakup. There were a lot more after that, and when my sister announced her engagement the day after I’d been dumped by someone I’d been really keen on, it was Dad who provided the tissues as I cried in envy in my room. Dad loved us both but if he treated us differently it was because we were two totally different personalities. For example he taught me cribbage but my sister Judo. I loved bath night as I would sit on a cushion between his feet and he would vigorously rub my hair dry, though Sis didn’t like it.
He taught us to waltz, though being kids, we cheated and stood on his feet. These dance lessons came in handy later when he gave us both away on our respective wedding days, a proud Father passing his girls to another Man to be loved and cherished. When my niece arrived a few years later, he had another little girl in his life, but he was still there for me.
I wrote to him once. A heartfelt letter about desperately wanting a baby of my own, and how I couldn’t approach Mum because she was so full of the new granddaughter she already had. Poor Mum, she had no idea how I felt. I so didn’t want to hurt her, and although I was pleased for my sister, my visits to the parental home became less frequent. With only the one topic of conversation, and them either expected, visiting or just leaving, it was too painful for me, especially as a pregnancy test had shown a false positive which wasn’t picked up on for several weeks. We never discussed it so I never knew what his reaction was or if he talked to Mum about me. Mum certainly never mentioned it anyway, and when my second niece came along, things weren’t that much different really.
When I got into a bit of a pickle moneywise after my divorce, it was Dad who sat down with me to work out a plan, and by being really strict with myself, I was able to repay my debts without financial assistance from him. In later years, the roles were reversed, though if he’d realised I’d given him all my holiday spending money, he would have struggled to find another way.
I could talk to him about anything. No subject was off limits. I wish I could talk to him now. I miss him so very, very much. He passed from this world with my Mum, brother, husband and me at his bedside. As he had always been there to hold my hand, I was there and held his.
( Father’s Day 2006 )
I think about you every day,
Often with a tear in my eye,
It seems like only yesterday
But ten years have gone by.
I never told you what I should.
In this life you can no longer be:
I took for granted you understood,
And hope you are proud of me.
I see you often in my dreams
Though your voice I cannot hear.
Life is never what it seems
When you lose someone as dear.
Young and relaxed, your stress is gone,
The warmth of your smile still shines,
You may not be here but Love lingers on,
And will ’til the end of time.
I may have been Daddy’s Little Girl, but more importantly, he was This Little Girl’s Daddy.