To all the young women out there, whether in age or in heart, know that your father loves you. Even if life has separated you, and you don’t feel it — you were created from your father’s deepest spiritual essence and share a bond that can never, ever be broken.
Upon the delivery of my five boys, my first reaction was “Oh look – mini me!” I quickly could see the trajectory of their lives, from rambunctious toddler, to young man, to fatherhood, having traversed this path myself.
But it wasn’t until my sixth child that I merited to have a little girl. She immediately became the second most important woman in my life. And her birth changed me forever. It was all so new, so different, and so strange. I knew her, loved her, but didn’t understand her.
There is this girl who stole my heart and she calls me Daddy.
Over the years, she has shaped me and changed me in ways I never thought possible. Bringing a sense of emotion, vulnerability, protection and masculinity to my being that I just didn’t have before. And at the same time, forging a bond not based on throwing a football around or learning together or even praying to Gd together.
Instead, my daughter helped me forge a relationship based on connection — she wanted my time, my heart, my soul. And she got it. And more than my gift to her, the opportunity to be her father is her gift to me. While our bond begins at inception, it continues to grow as life moves on. As Dr. Taylor Burrowes (@taylorburrowes) writes so beautifully in a tribute to her father:
It feels like so long ago that I had my father in my life. The healthy and normal, obnoxiously brutish, commanding presence like no other human being, Dad. The one I cuddled with every night, the one who sang me Old Man River every night, who cooked my breakfast and fed me eggs and bacon and toast while I sat on his lap rather than in my own chair, who forced me to shine his shoes, go swimming in the cistern to clean frogs out.
Her father called her “Daddy’s Symphony”. What an loving appellation for his little girl. At once beautiful, harmonious, and majestic. And always belonging to him. Forever.
It is well known that a girl’s worldview is largely shaped by her relationship with her father. The stronger that bond, the more confidence, esteem and success a young woman may have. It is a deep responsibility, as our daughters will grow up to literally birth, nurture, and raise the next generation of humanity — what could possibly be more important? More significant?
And, don’t worry if you are unsure that you can live up to the challenge of raising a girl. Your little angel, with her smile, her hugs, and her heart, will help you become the exact man you need to be for her to call you “Daddy”.
This post is dedicated to the yahrzeit of my beloved father, Eliezer ben Dovid (Gene Feldman), 17th of Shvat, may he rest in peace.