I watch her run to him, day after day, and there is never a doubt in her mind that he’ll be there for her. To celebrate, to play, to wipe tears, to sing silly songs, read books, snuggle on the sofa, build forts, and swing – whatever her wish, he’s there with arms and heart open. He makes himself interruptable for her, constantly teaching even when that part of his day job is long finished.
She pretends to cook food in her play kitchen that she’s helped him prepare. She carries stones one by one to a new pile for him when he asks for her help, and she goes well out of her way to avoid the freshly leveled piles of sand that he’s asked her not to walk on. My little girl and her daddy teach me what it’s like to live fearlessly and to serve one another with their whole hearts. They share love languages, these two parts of my heart. Service, quality time, touch – the opposite of mine and yet they show me what it’s like to lean into their strengths. She helps unload the dishes. He pulls her in close for a hug. And I teach her to say “good job, daddy!” because words of affirmation make my heart soar.
He is my biggest fan, the one who knew I would be working my God-sized dream job long before I ever received the offer because God uses him to speak life into my heart. He never blinked when I said it would require me to travel, simply saying “I guess we’ll have good daddy-daughter dates, then.” He buys cupcakes and pizza and knows enough to ask me to pick out her outfits before I leave for a few days. And when I call home, missing them and wanting to make sure they’re fine, they’re all snuggles and smiles and play dates at the park and he knows to save the details of the time outs and tantrums until I’ve returned.
And no matter how many times she pushes him away, he returns. He’s never given up on me and when I see the determined love in his eyes, I know he’ll never give up on her. Every day I get a little glimpse into the love God has for each of us and it makes my heart hurt with the beauty. God has redeemed so much in my life through this family He’s given me. It’s not perfect. Sometimes it’s not even pretty. But it’s ours – and I couldn’t ask for anything more.
Happy Father’s Day, Matt. From your girls 🙂