I stood at the doorway of my daughter’s bedroom one night as her father tucked her in and said goodnight.
‘Daddy, you’re my true love’, she said as she wrapped her tiny arms around his neck.
Gracie, like many other little girls loves fairytales—stories of princes and princesses, the magic of true love’s kiss, and happily ever after. Her daddy is her prince, her protector, and her true love. It brings me such joy to see how different my little girl’s experience is to my own.
My daddy was a violent alcoholic. My last childhood memories of him were of the night he tried to kill my mother, four siblings and me in an alcoholic rage. It wasn’t long after his return from army service in Vietnam. Luckily, we were rescued in time but I grew up with only painful memories of the daddy who was meant to love me. I missed out on that special daddy-love that every child so desperately needs. I believed it was my fault that he didn’t love me. If my own father couldn’t love me, who would? In my hunger for love I found myself in unhealthy and abusive relationships, and eventually in a long battle with chronic depression.
Sadly, there are millions of young girls growing up today without their daddy’s love. Their prince and protector is not there to give his princess the special love that only a father can give. It’s been heart-warming for me to witness the relationship blossom between my husband and our daughter over the past six years, but even more healing was my reconciliation with my own father just weeks before he died. After 33 years apart, and for the first time I could ever remember, my father finally told me he loved me.