Dad’s Call

Sloan (my Dad), with Porsche (my daughter). Laps only get so big

Dad’s forget that when their daughters grow up, they never, and I mean never, want to stop thinking of themselves as their Daddy’s little girl. What it means is that a daughter always wants to know she is loved by her father. That she is missed. That her Dad still wants to hold her on his lap the way he did when she was eight, even though she’s well past the age where she’d fit. This desire doesn’t end with a marriage, a divorce or a change in the economic or social status. It just is.

As I type at 5 in the morning, I tell you that the bond between father and daughter never ends. I still want to get a call from my father every Friday night telling me to have fun and be safe, the way he did from the moment I left to college, even though I’ve been married 15 yrs! Dad rarely (if ever) asked what I was doing, but I took this as a sign of trust, not disinterest. He didn’t always reach me live, nor did he wait until the end of the day; sometimes his call served as my alarm. The point was he called and I knew he cared.

Dad’s lap also holds a special place for me, but he has bear-sized arms he’d wrap around me as I sat on those tree-trunk sized legs. He tickled me when I was itty-bitty, then he bounced me until I was too heavy, then gradually moved me to the center of his legs to sharing his thigh with the couch, until it was only my feet that could be on his leg like a footstool while I sat across or beside him. Yet the physical impossibility didn’t mean the sentiment or desire went away.

Last night, I felt myself wanting to be on the receiving end of Dad’s call. I wanted to hear my Dad telling me to have fun and be safe, even tho it was a Saturday night and I’m stuck in bed and in a
great deal of post-surgical pain. My father is the lone male voice in the world that will be there until he’s in the grave. It’s deeper than it was, and it’s not always has fast talking or peppered with colorful words or politically incorrect phrases. But it’s holds a lifetime of love and advice, and it has often served as the emotional lifeline that’s pulled me back into the safety of my marriage.

I believe Dad’s forget the impact and power they have on their daughter or believing that relationship a husband has replaces their own. Nope. It’s in addition to, not replacement of. When my daughters grow up, they too, will eventually get to big for Rog’s lap, but they won’t outgrow the desire for his love or attention.

And what will I, the mom, tell our girls if and when Rog ever forgets to call them? Exactly what my own mom advises me to do. “You have a phone. Pick it up and call him. The phone works both ways.” Thank heavens for that.