If you are a “daddy’s girl,” nobody has to tell you are. You know it because your daddy will always be your hero, whether he is still with you or not. Daddies like my dad and my son continually raise the bar for dads everywhere by exhibiting love in action. Through their determination and creativity, their little girls come to believe there is nothing their daddies can’t do (or fix). I am not talking about the kind of daddies who hand over a credit card or who are financially able to buy their children everything their hearts desire (or enable them by bailing them out every time they get in trouble). I am talking about the evidence of love through intangible gifts of time. One such friend is Bryan. He recruits an entire team to join him as he jumps in the chilling waters every winter to support Special Olympics and honor his daughter. My friend Jonathan supports his children in their sports and musical aspirations (even the basic cooking and baking skills). These dads are part coach, part mentor, part hero and each of them exhibits love in action in their own unique way. THIS is the kind of daddies that inspire this story.
As a child, I thought my daddy could do just about anything. My earliest memories of him cannot be confirmed. Apparently a baby of crib age doesn’t remember. The experts can’t disprove the memory I have of my daddy’s smiling face leaning over my crib wearing a red plaid cap. Granted, as an adult I can’t imagine my daddy wearing anything other than a UK blue cap, but that’s a different story altogether.
I remember the tender moments shared by the little girl version of myself and my dad. I remember him teaching me to tie my shoes. I remember the piggyback rides. I remember writing notes back and forth with him when he was on evening shift and gone to work before I got home from school. I remember the storytelling, the banjo playing and his infamous “Bottle Rump Jim” jig he did while playing that banjo. I remember the whistles he made for me from the stalks of Speckled Jewel Weed But of all these, the thing that stands out in my mind as a huge gift of time and love was the hand made swing set.
I grew up in the 1950’s when children still spent a lot of time outdoors playing instead of indoors on electronic devices. My dad had grown up in the early 1900’s when there simply were no toys in a family of 11 children in the rural areas of southeastern Kentucky. As a child, he and his siblings learned to play games and create their own fun. They swung on grapevines and climbed trees. But the 50’s were different. On our playground at school, we actually had a real swing set. Unfortunately, there was also a really long line for those swings at recess. I must have mentioned this to my dad more than once, but I never remember actually asking him to buy me a swing set.
One day, my daddy went into the woods with a double bit axe and came home hours later carrying a huge locust post on his shoulder. I didn’t ask why. I didn’t even get curious when he made several more trips on subsequent days, bringing home still more locust posts. However, I became curious when he started digging holes in our back yard below a huge Mimosa tree. At this point, I began to do what any daddy’s girl would do. I stuck by his side, watching his every move as the poles went in the ground, holes were drilled, boards were cut for the seats and chains were hung suspending 2 swings—one for me and one for my brother. Our swing set was constructed of rough-hewn, unpainted locust posts, but it was so sturdy, nothing could tear it up.My daddy couldn’t afford a store-bought swing set, but he cared enough to use his creativity and take the time and energy to build one for my brother and me. I spent hours every day swinging on that swing set while singing the lyrics of Que Sera Sera. I was a child and I didn’t have a care in the world.
We were the only children in our neighborhood with a swing set and it wasn’t because we were rich. My daddy loved us enough to want to give us the little things he couldn’t afford to buy. As you might imagine, neighborhood kids enjoyed that swing set right along with us for years to come.
Since my own daddy was a stand in dad for my children, I am sure my son learned a lot of those same wonderful attributes from him.
“I’m not a carpenter. I’m a Baker who’s a farmer. But when your little girl begs for a doll bed, you cobble something together.” These were the words of my son, Shad as he began construction of a doll bed. He is that special kind of daddy inspiring yet another little girl (my granddaughter) to become a “daddy’s girl.” With all the doll houses and dolls my eight-year-old granddaughter has to play with, what she lacked was a suitable bed for them. Thanks to a little girl’s “need” for a doll bed and the creativity of two loving parents, my granddaughter now has a doll bed that may one day be handed down to her own daughter.
In writing this, I give due recognition to my wonderful daughter-in-law as well as my son. My daughter-in-law Melanie makes doll clothes, furniture, and even made the mattress, pillows and blankets to complete this doll bed project. She is extremely creative and talented and is inspiring the same in my granddaughter. Together she and my son are a great daddy/mommy team (which is as it should be!)
Are you a daddy’s girl? What special memories do you have of the way your dad showed love in action through the intangible gift of his time and/or talents? Please share in the comments below.
Pam Baker, RN
Children today don’t have to wait for the Christmas catalogs from Sears, Roebuck and Company, Montgomery Ward or J.C. Penney to shop for toys. Children know how to search for the newest and greatest on the internet. They haven’t yet learned about budgets and the fact that money doesn’t grow on trees. Sadly, children are continually the targeted for advertising on television as well as the internet. Advertisers know how persistent children can be when they want something. This is why it is important to teach children the difference between something they actually NEED versus something they WANT. It is important to teach them the value of money and saving their money to buy the things they want most. It is also important to inspire children to be creative.
Posted in Leaving a legacy, Mindset, STORIES, The Journey, Uncategorized by Pam Baker-Redman with no comments yet.