Friday, July 23, 2010

In Her Father's Eyes

A father is always making his baby into a little woman. And when she is a woman he turns her back again. ~Enid Bagnold

There is something magical about watching a father with his baby. I see this magic in the moments when I sit back and watch Laney and Mike together. Laney saves her biggest smiles for her dad. She looks to him when she is playing on the floor, just to be sure he is watching. If his attention is turned elsewhere, she makes silly sounds and starts giggling, imploring him to look at her.

Dads push the limits during play in ways most mums do not. Mike is no exception. Laney flies, she twists, and she turns upside-down in her dad's arms. I have to restrain my words of caution while they play. She's goofy with her dad and she wants her dad's approval, even this young.

She loves it when Mike squishes her face.

Sharing a laugh after getting tossed in the air.
Taking a breather.
Her Daddy smile.
Playing 'high five.'
Oops. I didn't make myself up today.

I recently read "Bringing Up Girls" by Dr. James Dobson. One thing that really hit home was the important role that dads play in their daughters' lives. Sure mums are important, but there is something about fathers that cannot be replaced. As I read this book, I reflected on my own Dad. Sure, he was imperfect. He was often working, reading, on his computer and away from us. He could be stern, prone to rage, and hard on us. But, he was also gentle, wise, and loving. My dad's opinion meant the world to me. I often found myself avoiding trouble during the teen years with the thought of "what would my dad think if he found out?" I wanted him to be proud of me. I still want him to be proud of me. A harsh word from him consumed my thoughts. A complimentary word from him made me think I could do anything. And this influence continues. I love my dad.

I can only hope that Mike realizes the importance of his relationship with Laney. I hope he builds her up, picks her up when she falls, and
carries her when she needs it. I hope he takes the time to play with her when she is young and to talk with her when she is grown. I hope he tells her she is beautiful every time he gets the chance. Mike is the one who has to teach her that she is too good to sell herself out. She is too good to be with a no good boy. She can do anything she wants. And after watching him so far, I am sure he is up for the task.

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