You would have been 53 years old today, Daddy. Happy Birthday! I’ve often imagined how we would celebrate if you were here with me. Maybe a scary movie and some pizza would suffice. If I like it, you’d love it, right? 🙂 I’ve always thought you would.
Growing up without a father has undoubtedly had an affect on me and my life. I’m not like the women who claim nonchalance to the absence of a daddy or father figure. I needed him. I need him. I’ve never felt a real, genuine, consistently strong bond with any man in my life. Yes, I had a stepfather. Yes, I loved riding go carts and bikes, making mud pies and eating muscadines with my boy cousins. But, it wasn’t the same. It’s a void that may never be filled.
You took your last breath in that fiery car crash, when I was just 3 months old. I’m told you were on your way to see me, your one and only baby girl. I have no memories of you. No Polaroids of me with my chubby cheeks, arms and legs cradled in your arms. No snapshot of you struggling to change a poopy diaper. I am left with old photos of your high school days on the fields and courts of Alexander Central. I cherish the photos of you with my aunts and uncles.
I know very little about you, but I know you were well loved. As for me, I’m 26 now. It’s been 25 years without you. To say I don’t have any “daddy issues” would be a lie. I’m not out there begging for the attention of men twice my age, or clinging to any morsel of affection I can get. It’s quite the opposite. There’s both intrigue and discomfort. It’s hard for me to let people in. I avoid eye contact with men and always assume they’d never be interested in me or find me attractive. Wall upon wall surrounds my heart. No one has been brave enough, or close enough to break them down.
It is said that a girl’s first love is her father. That is the missing link. That impactful, necessary, poignant relationship never was, and never will be.
Thank you for loving my mother and big sister. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for life.
I love you, Daddy.
I hope you’re proud of me! I’m not where I want to be in life, but I’m gonna get there. I promise. Fathers, tell your daughters you love them. Tell them they’re beautiful. Hold their hands and keep them close. They need it.
Happy Birthday, Daddy. Rest in Paradise.