Today is St. Patty’s Day. It is also my Daddy’s birthday. He is not here with me to celebrate, but he is always in my thoughts, his spirit permanently cradling my mind. I still miss him dearly, and sometimes wish I could see him, talk to him, be with him, tell him “I love you, daddy.”
I’ve been without a father for almost 20 years now (19 years to be exact). Can you believe how quickly time has flown? I know my Dad is watching over me, guiding me, protecting me…but no presence is as great as the physical. There are some things I wish I could tell him, some things I wish I could show him, some experiences I wish we could share together, but I can’t because he is not here. There may be substitutes, but there is no replacement. My “stepfather,” my uncles, and even my older male cousins and friends have stepped in to offer paternal-like admonitions, solace, and security, but when they go home at night, they are with their daughters, sons, wives, and families, and I am left alone.
It’s hard growing up without a father. There is something about having a father that changes a woman’s perspective on life. It affects her relationships with other men, with her mother, but most importantly, with herself. A father guides his daughter with his prescience and instinct, and though “mother knows best,” father reassures and secures. I’ve never felt sorry for myself for being without a father, and I’ve never used his death as an excuse to fail or progress. I have, however, reflected on his absence in an introspective sense, searching deep within myself for the answers my father would’ve given me—should’ve given me—but could not because he was not there. I am unfulfilled because he is not here.
His spirit is and forever will be reflected through the lens of his offspring (my sister and me), but…I will never feel his embrace or his warmth, see his smile or his frown, hold his hand, be his special girl. The older I become, the more I think of him, and the more I wonder what life would have been like as a daddy’s girl.
Happy Birthday, Daddy. I love you so much more than words can say. I know I’ve disappointed you, hurt you, and dishonored you, but I am trying to be a better girl. I want to make you happy, and this year I will try my best. You were not perfect, and I can never be; yet, I believe that our relationship manifests something greater than perfection. I strive to achieve that every day, though it’s not the same because you’re not here. Until we meet again, I will hold on to these memories—the priceless captions of our time together—and protect them from wear.