There's just something about them.
I had a rough time with daddies in my life starting off. Long story short, my father walked out of my life when I was a little girl, Bruce stepped in to be my daddy when I was only 2 or 3, and was the only 'daddy' I ever knew. However, when it came time for him to adopt me (legally) into his family at the age of 15, I couldn't get over the fact that my real father didn't want anything to do with me... ever. The adoption was more than proof.
As girls we need the acceptance, approval, and love from men in our lives, and he was absent to say the least. I struggled a great deal, the adoption went through, and I mourned the loss of a father I never had... so I thought. (I should note, I wanted the adoption.)
It wasn't until a year following the adoption that I came home from school and saw a cake sitting at my place on the kitchen table. It was a one year birthday cake marking the 'birth' of my legal entrance into my daddy's family. It was at this time that I realized what a daddy I'd had all along, and when you have a daddy, who needs a father? (If I'm honest, I even prefer the term 'daddy' for my spiritual Father rather than the word 'father' for this reason.)
From that moment on I completely saw my dad in a different light.
As a family we walked through so much after this time. After my engagement in December, my dad had a heart-attack in February that nearly took him from us. We spent a great deal of time in the hospital, praying that Jesus would spare his life. He still had to walk me down an aisle.
His recovery was long, and he seemed frail and sick for a long time after, but by golly, he walked me down that aisle. Standing with him in the vestibule is something I will never forget. History of his being the 'man in my life' flashed before my eyes, littered with the little things he did (and put up with) that showed how much he loved me. (I mean, you can only play Candy Land with a 3 year old so many times before you pack a bag and go running the other direction.) And with tears in his eyes we left that vestibule, and he gave me away to the man who would bring a whole new meaning to the word 'daddy.'
When you get married you can't imagine loving your husband anymore than you already do.
You're in love... newlyweds, living up the easy life and enjoying all of the newness of living together and doing life together.
Then, babies enter the picture and everything changes. Your house becomes littered with toys, you get too little sleep and have too much change. Your life begins to revolve around diapers and schedules. And one day, when the fog fades, you walk in the room to see the husband that you could never love more be a daddy, talking and making faces and cooing and this precious being the two of you created together, and somehow that love reaches an incredible new level. The 'daddy' in Aaron makes me love him even more. I love seeing him enjoy our children. I love his workings with them, his interactions with them, his love for them, and I know that one of these days he will be standing with Ansley in some vestibule and before her eyes will flash all of the love she received from her daddy. One day, Bryton will be playing with his own son, and he'll understand the love and pride that Aaron felt the first time he knocked his Cardinal baseball off that tee.
And I look at him now and relish in the idea that I have a husband who is also an incredible daddy. A spiritual leader, a playmate, a little girl's first love (and I hope only love for a long time)... he disciplines but he lifts up, he plays and he teaches, he protects and instills confidence.
It's said that girls marry men who are like their fathers... and from the outside, I'd have to say that couldn't be further from the truth in my case, but when I really look at the hearts of the two daddies in my life, their hearts couldn't be any more the same. Frankly, I think Ansley would be lucky to marry a man who turns out to be a man just like her daddy, and Bryton has quite a role model to lead him into his own adulthood.
All in all, I'm realizing tonight, on the eve of Father's day, that I am a very blessed woman, and I'm very thankful for the daddies in my life.
More news on daddies tomorrow... (and again when I get our Segway pictures in from the day! BOY, was that fun!!!)