Daddy's Little Girl
Nothing like the bright sunshine and the great outdoors, except having friends to enjoy it with. I however had no friends because mommy rarely allowed me to go outside. But today she had a visitor; it was the strange man that had been staring at us during the time my father passed away, so she allowed me to sit out front.
I was sitting on the porch steps watching my brother play catch with his friends. Our neighborhood was full of little boys but all the girls were so much older than me, plus, I didn’t feel much like doing what the girls did anyway. I was used to being with my daddy and today, I missed him a lot. Seems it was always my oldest brother with my Aunt Pattie-pooh because she had four daughters but always wanted a son so she looked at my brother like so. My mother always had my baby sister Renee because she was the youngest and looked most like her. My oldest brother Man always had my baby brother Brian, of course because he was a boy.
Crying was not an option as I sat on the steps but I could at least think of my dad in hopes that my day dreaming would help me feel close to him today. My dad used to take me everywhere with him because I was daddy’s little girl. He took me on long walks from one neighborhood to the next and we would stop at the parks in these areas. Daddy would push me so high on the swings that I thought I was going to touch the sky. I would throw my head back, close my eyes and smile. I trusted him. I knew he would keep me safe.
The thing I recall most was when my dad took me to this house that seemed to be in a whole different world. The house was nothing like ours. Yes, it was made of brick outside like ours and attached to other houses but the inside was huge, the steps were made of wood and there was carpet on the floors. Our house was concrete and steel inside but at least my mom kept it clean. This house was junky every time dad and I went to visit. It had a huge kitchen and a separate dining area whereas we had a two-in-one, kitchen and dining room combo.
Each time we visited, we would climb the steep stairs but before we reached the door a petite lady with short hair and small frame would emerge from the other side greeting him with a smile, hug and then a kiss. Somehow, even as young as I was, I knew this was his “other woman”…his girlfriend but I never asked any questions. I was just happy to be with my daddy.
The woman had a daughter who appeared to be about my age. It was actually pretty scary because when I looked at her it was like looking in a mirror. We were about the same complexion, smiled just the same; both wore the same pony tails and had the same love in our eyes for my daddy. Ironically, I believe her name was Tracey. I was slightly taller than her and though we never discussed ages or birthdays for some reason I always thought that she was a little older than me, not much but maybe a few months.
Tracey and I were given a 40 ounce can of beer, told to share it and prompted to sit on the stairs being sure not to move until our parents came back for us. Sometimes we sat just holding the can, looking at one another with questions in our eyes but neither of us bold enough to ask with our lips. Those days of drinking beer with Tracey gave me a strong distaste for it and made me hate seeing women drink beer. In fact, I made a vow with myself at that early age to avoid beer altogether when I grew up.
Eventually our parents would come back and get us, take us into the kitchen and feed us sandwiches. Afterwards my daddy and I would leave. Most times it was pitch black outside so we would walk a ways, then mount a bus or grab a cab to head home. When we arrived at home, LATE, dad reeked of beer, mom would be there waiting with fire in her eyes. I remember one time she asked him where the hell he had been and I blurted out the answer, saying we had just come from daddy’s girlfriend’s house. It didn’t come from a place of mischief, I really don’t know what made me answer but I said it with a smile like I was happy. That couldn’t possibly have made my mother feel like a woman or feel loved. As my dad turned to look at me I felt like a traitor. Actually, I felt like a two-fold traitor, one for being with my dad’s girlfriend AND being happy about it which I knew was wrong for my dad to do and two, for telling on my dad knowing it landed him in hot water. I was sent upstairs and the screaming match ensued.
The next day when I saw dad preparing for our daily outdoor adventure I quickly ran and grabbed my shoes and jacket, rushing back to my father’s side. As I stood beside him with all my normal excursion gear he looked down at me and informed me that I was not able to go with him. I asked him why and then I heard a voice behind me say because I said so. It was mommy. Dad just looked up at her as she glared back almost daring him to say something. I tugged dad’s pants leg and begged him to take me with him. He said he couldn’t this time but promised he would do something special with me when he came back.
As he walked out the door I burst into tears and at this very moment, I was shaken from my daydream with the strange man asking me if I was okay. I had not realized the tears from my daydream actually fell in my reality also. Embarrassed, I quickly wiped my eyes and shook my head, nodding that I was okay. The man patted the top of my head, turned and yelled to my brother, “BALL”. My brother threw it to him and the man told him to go long and then threw the ball back to my brother and his friends. He turned back to me saying be a good girl with a partial smile on his face. I watched him as he walked away and then turned to go inside. My mother was standing in the doorway watching the man walk away also. She opened the door for me and then called for my brother to come in telling both of us to go upstairs and wash up because it was time for dinner.
As I walked up the stairs guilt consumed me. I began feeling like I was the reason my father left and that if I had only kept quiet he would still be with us, I would still be traveling the city with him and he would be alive. I stayed in the bathroom for a while after we washed our hands and splashed water on my face to cover my tears. I held those tears for as long as I could but was no longer able to hold them inside. I didn’t want to upset my mother or have my brother make fun of me. No one cried since the funeral and even then mom was not the one I saw shedding tears and certainly no one discussed my dad’s passing. I needed this moment, I needed my dad.
To My Daughter:
Before you were brought forth, you were loved. As the prayers flowed and the tears fell, you were loved. On the day of your birth and you showed up, you were loved. As the doctors were working to pull you into this world, you were loved.
Once you were placed in my hands, I realized that I was LOVED! As I saw you had your toes & hands and I knew I was loved. As you started to walk and talk, I knew I was loved. As you began to speak your own thoughts and make your own decisions, I knew I was loved. When you learned to play chess, help with your brother and hugged me with your loving touch, I knew I was loved.
When you started school and it was clear that you had a special gift, I knew you were loved. When you listened and understood all the times I told you that you are # 1 because of the LOVE of God, I knew we were both Loved. As you learned & lived the Love of God, I knew we were Loved.
Life has come full circle and I KNOW THAT GOD LOVED BOTH OF US ALL ALONG. Thank you for being a wonderful daughter. Thank you for loving me, and I certainly thank God I was and am still able to love you. Nothing, not even death can keep me from loving you!
Love You Baby Girl,