What Difference Does a Father Make on His Daughter’s Life?

Dads and daughters have a special bond. Like a blossoming flower, each day brings new beauty and new life.

Little girls are obsessed with their dads. From their first utterance of “da-da”, daddies are the center of their world. They bring lollipops and flowers to dance recitals, or make boo-boos disappear with silly kisses. They make belly farts and catch frogs.

I remember my dad bringing me water in a frosted green goblet when I’d have a bad dream. Whenever I’d try something new, whether it be going down a new slide or counting backwards for the first time, my dad would catch me -or give me the answer. Dads provide the safety and security of Fort Knox. They protect their little girls.

There were times when my dad’s judgment was off; like the time that he thought we’d go for a ride in my red wagon. I was three or so. He stood me up in the wagon, cowboy hat and all. He taught me to hold the long, steel handle. I can still feel my heart pounding out of my chest, as he pushed me from behind. I got to steer. It was so much fun, until we hit a rock. I was catapulted to the ground, hitting my chin and mouth on the curb. My mom was screaming that my front tooth was ruined. One tooth was cracked, and the other one turned black. Mom still looks at my kindergarten picture and sighs over the black tooth. Dad and I laugh, remembering his stupidity and all the crazy moments, like that one that we shared.

Loss of judgment was one of my favorite traits of my dad as a little girl. It was in those silly moments that I caught a glimpse of that kid, who was still as flawed and as immature as I was. Although my mom wanted to kill him, I wanted to kiss him for understanding me and for coming down to my level for those few hours.

The older I became, the more I noticed those lines and creases of concern across his forehead. Our relationship became stronger as I grew older. It became less fun perhaps, but it became more profound. Whenever I had any sort of uncertainty, my dad was the final authority.

From math probability trees to Latin prepositions and from college essays to boyfriends, I sought the wisdom and advice of my father. When he said “no”, he meant “no”. When he showed up at parties at midnight to drag me out and scream at me for breaking curfew, I cursed him under my breath. I waited for another “loss of judgment” moment. They came less and less frequently. I wondered where that fun guy had gone.

As I got older, I realized how intense a man my father is. He loves hard, he plays hard, and he works hard. He pays a high price for the lifestyle that he provides.

Fast-forward now twenty years. I am the mother of six children of my own. It’s funny to see my own husband’s “loss of judgment” moments as he parents our four daughters. It makes me laugh -and sometimes, o.k., I scream- at how excited my daughters will become when I announce that I am going away for the weekend. Instantly, they start salivating at the thought of not dressing properly for church or drinking soda at every meal, even going to every fast food joint within a five mile radius.

My oldest is now twelve, and working on probability trees in math. I almost laugh out loud when I hear myself saying, “Wait until your father comes home”. I hear them asking their dad -my husband- why boys think farting is funny. I see them run to him when they have a scrape, or even a broken heart. I know that my daughters rely on their dad, as much as I still rely on my father.

Dads fix things. They fix bikes. They fix leaks. They fix boo-boos. They mend broken hearts.

The most important part of a dad is that they are forever. Dads are a girl’s security blanket for life. Wherever she goes, a girl will look for her dad. Whether or not he is with her throughout her daily life; a girl hears her father’s advice and feels his love for eternity.