"Any man can be a Father, but it takes someone special to be a Daddy."
I remember this saying hanging in frame on different walls of my home when I was a girl. At first I didn't get it. Isn't it the same thing? But words are powerful; they carry feelings and connotations that inflect pictures, memories, and moments. So as I became more aware of words, I became more aware that I definitely had a Daddy, and I was lucky for it.
In honor of Fathers Day, I thought I'd share my own personal tid-bits from a daughters' point of view about what it takes to be Daddy. Especially for all the new dads out there, read carefully; these tips are simple but trust me, they make a world of difference.
5 Things Every Father Can Do To Become a Daddy to His Daughter:
1. Tuck her in at night
My dad worked long hours and sometimes multiple jobs to support our family, but I remember 9 times out of 10, he was there to tuck me in at night. It was the only quiet, one-on-one time I got with him, and man did I love it. Sometimes it was a quick kiss and goodnight, others a long conversation, and more often in my teenage years, it was a stern lecture that I was locked into, but regardless of the context, it was time cherished.
2. Treat her mother well
Kids observe a lot. A LOT. Even when you don't realize it, they're probably watching. And the way you treat women, especially their mother, can make or break how you are seen in a childs' eyes.
3. Tell her what she means to you
Girls need to hear it. They may not hear it from boys or other men for a while, but you can never say "I love you" enough. You can never tell her too many times that she is special and irreplaceable to you. She needs to know. Write it, sing it, say it, whatever you have to do, just make sure she knows.
4. Tell her what she's worth
Some day, you won't be the only man in her life. If she doesn't know what it feels like to be valued, what it means to be respected and cared for, if she doesn't repect and care for herself, how will she know the opposite when she's in a relationship that lacks it? Because it will happen eventually. It's up to you to teach her self-respect.
5. Give good hugs.
Your hugs should be unlike any other. Strong, loving, and bigger than words. There will be a day, or many days, when that's what she needs most. Give the kind of hugs that stick around even after you let go.
It doesn't make much; little girls always love their daddies no matter what. To this day, the name in my phone still reads "daddy." 25 years old, but he'll always be Daddy.
My dad and I on my wedding day - photo by Aaron Riddle Photography