This I Believe

Amelia - Tempe, Arizona
Entered on May 18, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family

I believe in Daddy’s girls. I believe that life would just not be complete without having felt the whiskers on my dad’s chin or the soft calling of “princess.” Ever since I was an infant, I’ve been trying to follow in my dad’s footsteps to go wherever he goes. There’s even a charming picture of me in diapers, giggling as I flopped around in my dad’s nine-and-a-half size black loafers.

Every little keepsake that my dad would bring back for me from his business trips, whether it was a piece of gum or even an used book, were riches that meant more to me than all my pretty Barbie dolls put together. One present in particular, was a simple music box. From the moment my dad returned from his trip and had entered through the screen door, I had eagerly awaited for his arrival; so that I could run up to him and wrap my short arms around his long legs to tell him my worn-out phrase of “I missed you, Daddy.”

After unloading some luggage, my dad had returned to me. He had to bend down in order to meet eye level to give me my gift. With the unsophisticated mannerisms of a young child, I could not form the proper remarks to express thanks, except with a few stumbling words. Even so, I’m sure he could tell that I was grateful as he warmly smiled back at me. When I opened the box, the three mirrors propped themselves up, as if they were to set the stage for the two delicate dancers. I was completely consumed by the iridescent pearl-painted swans, as they swirled and twirled and pirouetted in a circle. Hours upon hours, I sat gazing at these small figurines, as one swan was polarized to the other in order to keep the propriety of the dance. The trickling music notes gently rang in my ears of a tune that is still unknown to me to this day. The more I realized just how beautiful my gift was, the more I understood how large the rift between us was.

It’s as if we were the swans, never destined to be at the same place at the same time, chasing each other’s tails. At some level of acceptance, I understood that my father’s job required him to travel frequently, but although my mind could accept this fact, my heart never could. It would be his name that I would cry out for, and his number, that I would dial whenever my big brother bullied me. My heart would sink an inch every time he had to leave, but I had always promised myself to make sure he never knew in order to make his departure less painful.

At least according to the law I am an adult now because today is my eighteenth birthday and also the day my dad had to leave for yet another business trip. It would be in my best interest if I could leave those insecure feelings behind, but I still hold on. I know that my dad tries hard to compensate for his absence, and I’m thankful that he has bought me such nice things, but at the end of the day I really just wanted him to be here with me. I would have heaved away all my cute dresses, elegant jewelry, and mesmerizing music boxes instantaneously to have spent a day with him. It’s a father’s time that can’t be bought nor returned, it’s his time that every little girl treasures above all else, and it’s his time that is all we truly want.