I knew this day would come, but I still wasn’t prepared for it.
Audrey Rae, you have chosen favorites.
It began about a month ago. I went to tuck you in for bed, but you insisted that Mommy tuck you in. At the time, I wasn’t offended, I was just happy that I didn’t have to brush your teeth. But this continued every couple of nights, and soon after it began happening two or three nights in a row.
I’ll be honest, I’m kind of a sensitive guy, and this started to get to me a bit. But it really came to the bottom line one day when our family of four was just playing around the house. I was having a lot of fun, so I grabbed you, hugged you tight, and said “I love you, baby girl.” To which you responded, “No! I love Mommy!”
To your mother’s credit, she tried. “You love Daddy too, right?”
“No! I love Mommy!”
Wounded, I looked at you and said, “Sweetheart, it hurts Daddy’s feelings when you say that…”
You smiled and gave your mother a hug.
Similar situations presented themselves in the following days, and you continued to repeat this phrase.
Fast forward a couple of weeks, and we’re about to get into a small, six person, single prop plane (that’s a plane with one propeller, if your grandpa hasn’t taught you this yet) to take us up to our hunting campsite. We get in, buckle up, and you look visibly nervous. The pilot, Spence, starts the plane and the engine roars to life. You turn to me and yell over the noise, “Daddy…it’s loud!”
I can see the anxiety in your face. So I reach over and take your hand in mine. You grip the two fingers that actually fit in your hand tightly and we take off. While in flight, I smile at you, and you smile back at me.
By the time we land, you have fallen asleep in the plane, with my hand still in yours.
This moment reassures me nearly to tears. Mommy may be your “favorite”, but you still see me as a protector, as a comforter, as one who can keep you safe.
These events have made me come to an important truth. More than your mom, more than your brother, more than my friends or my students, you have a direct line to my heart. I don’t know if this is true of every father with a little girl, but it is certainly true for me. This doesn’t mean that I love you more or that you’re my favorite, it just means that, for whatever reason, your words and actions will resonate deeper within my heart than you will likely intend.
Please be aware of, and beware, this. Remember that this will emphasize both the good and the bad. Every kind word you have for me, every moment of father/daughter love we share, and every hug and kiss will resonate joy.
On the other hand, every time we fight, every shout of anger at me, and every cold shoulder will likely wound me more than you realize.
After hearing about your preference for Mommy, your grandpa asked you, “Who do you love the most?” You, of course, responded “Mommy!” This brought the question, “Who do you love second?”
To my continuing joy, you boisterously shouted, “Daddy!”
I suppose I can take second place, for now.
I love you, my Raesin.
1 Corinthians 1:4