How Did You Know, Dad?
For Dad on Father’s Day, From Your Daughter
To daughters who may have lost a father in body or relationship, I hope this letter does nothing but remind you of the love your Heavenly Father has for you.
Today is your day, where all the sons and daughters post their pictures, sign their cards, and buy the ties and wallets. We reminisce on childhood, your funny dad jokes, and your constant love. But beyond that, I want to thank you for making me a daddy’s girl. For treating me like diamonds and jewels. For valuing my intelligence, talents, failures, and passions. Many would think that this type of treatment would create a spoiled, entitled, and incapable woman. For the record, dad, you made me as tough as nails. And it’s all because of what you knew all along. My question is, how did you know, Dad?
Catherine Cansler Photography
If you would have forced me to play a sport, I would have learned teamwork and given you lots of joy. But you knew that I might wonder what I could have done great if I didn’t choose to do what I loved. How did you know I needed to choose my own passions?
If you would have assumed I had enough money, I would have learned to be frugal and to save. But you knew of my self-consciousness and never wanted me to have to ask. How did you know I had already spent the last twenty you gave me?
If you would have been more harsh with your words, I would have learned to toughen up to criticism. But you knew that the way you spoke to me would become my inner voice. How did you know that I needed your encouragement, not for you to say it like it is?
If you would have hid your imperfections from me and tried masking your mistakes, I would have believed that you were the strongest person in the world. But you knew that part of being strong meant owning up to your mistakes. How did you know how badly I would need to have grace for myself and others in this imperfect world?
If you would have critiqued my dances and told me to quiet down when my stories were too long, I would have learned to work harder on my craft to be the best. But you knew that my value wasn’t attached to my performance. How did you know how much I needed for you to clap for me at that young age?
If you wouldn’t have walked me home from the bus stop every time it rained, I would have learned to tough it through the storms life would throw at me. But you knew I needed someone to wait for me at the bus stop with a huge umbrella. How did you know that I had to learn that it’s better to walk through life with someone by my side?
If you would have told me that the dream I had was silly and over-the-top, I would have learned to be more realistic. But you knew that dreaming big was the first step to achieving greatness. How did you know how much confidence I would gain when you believed in me?
If you would have told me I was too old to be held, I would have learned to grow up. But you knew that no matter how old I got, I would always need a hug from my father. How did you know how much comfort I felt in your embrace?
If you wouldn’t have come outside every time I drove away, I would have learned to be more independent and accept goodbyes. But you knew that if I watched you wave through that rear view mirror every time I left, I would be reminded of the adoring love that my Heavenly Father has for me. How did you know that I would see that picture in my head every time I prayed?
This Father’s Day, I’m reminded of my own strength because you knew these things all along. Thank you for making me tough unconventionally. And for understanding what was important.
And for just…knowing.
I love you, Dad.