Some days, I get really nostalgic about my childhood. The innocence, the joy, the absolute protection and unconditional love that I received is something I will treasure forever – and I know that it shaped me completely as the woman I am today, and the mother I someday want to be.

Above everything, my siblings and I were blessed (for too short a time) to have the most amazing Dad a kid could ask for. Yes, I’m incredibly biased, I realize. But the amount of patience, dedication, and love he poured into each of us is forever ingrained on my heart and overflows into how I live my life today. There is something to be said about being “Daddy’s Little Girl”. Dad-Daughter

A few weeks ago, I was struggling with a situation where I didn’t feel “good enough”, and feeling the need for Dad’s validation and confidence in me. I know, without hesitation, that my validation and self-worth should come from God, and that I know who I am in Him. Yet, I was missing my Dad and wishing he was here to sit me down, help me see the bigger picture…and build me up the way only he was able to, through affirmation and understanding. He always “got” me.

And as I sat on my couch, with a cup of tea in my hand and my journal in my lap, mulling over the situation that was occupying my mind and heart, I suddenly remembered a conversation from long ago with my Dad…

It was a hot, sticky summer day in upstate New York. My highly emotional and imaginative twelve-year-old self had just gotten into a silly, unimportant argument with my Mom (side-note, bless you, Mom, for putting up with 4 teenage girls! You are truly an amazing inspiration to me and I love you so very much), and I was feeling so indignant and prideful. “You just don’t understand!” I yelled at her, hot tears streaming down my face, as I ran out the front door into the yard.

Daddy was chopping wood near the shed, working hard in the summer heat and preparing us for the impending winter cold. There was a homemade teeter-totter close to where he working, and I went straight to it, stepping onto the center of the plank and trying to balance on it (something I did regularly, not really sure why!)

My dad looked up at me as he placed piece of wood onto the chopping block. “What’s wrong, baby girl?” he asked me, pausing with the ax in his hand. 

Despite my ridiculous and totally unnecessary anger toward my Mom at the moment, I was immediately encouraged by his attention and interest in my issues. I began to lament my woes to him, tears and hiccups accompanying the tale. To this day, I don’t even remember what the argument was about, except that SOMEHOW, it had to do with my daydreaming all the time, and (embarrassingly!) about wanting to be free and understood (after watching “The Little Mermaid 2” haha!!!), but my dramatic self was distraught that my Mom just didn’t get it!

I remember my Dad smiling to himself as he swung the ax up over his head and brought it down on the wood, slicing it in half. Of all the things we chatted (or cried, in my case) about in that brief moment, I remember this distinctly:

“Let me ask you something, Sabrina. Do you see yourself like the character in that movie? You think you want to be a mermaid?”

“I know that’s not real, Daddy,” I said, giving him a look. Then I cocked my head to the side, thinking a bit. “But yes, if they were real, I’d want to be one.”

He squinted up at the sky for a second, wiping his forehead with the back of his gloved hand. “Then don’t worry so much about what people think. If you want to be a mermaid, then be a mermaid.”

I’m all grown up now. I don’t daydream as much as I used to, I live an “adult” life full of responsibility and busyness, and sometimes I focus too much on someone else’s perception and opinion, rather than who I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I am. But I felt, in that sweet moment of recollection, that God was speaking to me through that memory. I felt strengthened, encouraged, and affirmed once again.

I miss you, Daddy. ❤ Thank you for always believing in me.