This is dedicated to all the wonderful loving fathers out there, who have given everything that was in themselves to make certain their children thrived. Thank you from a daughter and a member of the human race for standing up to the plate and doing the hard work necessary to shape a child into a productive adult. God Bless you all richly. I understand Father’s day is not until the 21st of June, after asking my sister, but I had already prayed for inspiration and this is what the Lord gave to me.

“Please, please, please…Daddy,
Just once more?” His
daughter begged. This
was always the case when
something fun or enjoyable
was afoot. He looked
into his daughter’s sleepy
eyes and relented.

“Just once more then you
must go to sleep!” He put all
the firmness and authority
he could into the statement
but his heart became mush
when she awarded him
a broad smile.

By the second page of
dramatic voices and
thrilling side-effects,
courtesy of his imagination,
his daughter’s eyes were
closed up tight. He softened his
tone in gradients until not a sound
did he utter then backed out of the room
with the utmost care so as not to set off a noisy
toy or trip over the dog.

Years pass by more quickly than he
could have ever imagined. Descending
the staircase, each step saw another year expire.
A familiar sound reached his ears
as he walked into the kitchen.
“…but that’s not fair Mom!”
“Daddy, you tell her that I am
old enough and responsible enough
to go out on my first date this weekend,
please, please, please, Daddy?”
He stood there shell-shocked,
‘Did my little girl just say, date?’ he thought
in horror. Glancing up at his wife, he saw
his own resolve reflected in her eyes. He
could also tell by the flushed cheeks of both
his wife and daughter that this conversation
had been going on for too long.

“First…” he began as he realigned
his gaze with his now 13 1/2 year old
daughter. “…you do not refer to your
mother as ‘her’ or ‘she’, for she
is your mother. Second, you are
not old enough to date and you
will not be going out this weekend.”

His daughter was about to retort with
her argument when she glanced between
her Mom and Dad and saw the battle
was over. They were in agreement.
He watched as her eyes filled with tears,
“I hate you! I hate you both!” she
screamed as she ran from the room.

Each word struck their hearts like
a jagged dagger. He took his
wife in his arms as they heard
the door of her bedroom slam.
They would deal with that
behavior later when everyone
was calm.

He glanced at his watch for
the hundredth time,
straightened his tie and
stuck himself with
the boutonniere pin, again.
Why was he all thumbs today?
He thought as he approached his
daughter’s door calling for his wife.
“Daddy, don’t come in! I do not
want you to see me yet!” yelled
his daughter. His wife appeared from
beyond the door looking beautiful, yet
sporting red eyes. “I can’t get this damn
flower on!” hissing his irritation after he
had kissed her and told her how lovely she looked.
She knowingly smiled and took to the task with
deft hands. She told him to go downstairs
because their daughter wanted to “make an
entrance” for him. He flashed a half-crooked smile,
which always meant his emotions were at the brim.
Twenty more anxious minutes passed as
he checked his watch every 30 seconds.
He hollered up the steps announcing
that they were going to be late.
Great relief washed over him as
he heard the door knob turn. His
wife emerged first and hurriedly
descended the steps as her husband
informed her of traffic patterns
and time schedules but he lost
all words and thoughts as his
daughter stood at the crest of the
staircase in her white flowing gown.
Suddenly, he had a million thoughts where
there had been none just a half second before.
Not a single one made it to his lips until his wife
gave him a firm nudge.
“You look beautiful, honey”, he
managed with a voice full of emotion.
Transfixed, he watched as
she floated down the steps and out the
door. How did this happen? How
did my little girl become a woman?
“Daddy, come on! We are going to
be late.” they gave each
other that half-crooked smile
signaling no more words were possible.

He enjoyed his years as grandpa, of
seeing his little girl grow into the
woman he always knew was possible
but could never have imagined
her becoming all those years ago. Of
course, she would always be ‘his little girl’
but the innocent laughter of children filled
the home with joy again, on occasion. His
place in her life had changed but it was no
less important, for he was her hero, he was
her rock. Today was different, somehow.

“Daddy…please, please, please Daddy…
don’t go yet”, she begged in an emotionally
worn voice. He opened his eyes
to see her sitting on the edge of the bed
holding his hand gently in her own. He
gave her that half-crooked smile then said,
“This time Pumpkin…it’s not my call. Our
Father is calling me home. To tell you the
truth, I miss your mom and I am
so tired.” He said barely above a whisper
but each word was filled with love. He brushed the
fresh cascade of tears from her cheek.
“Daddy, what am I going to do without you? I
love you so much” she cried.
“I love you with all my heart and I am
grateful our Lord saw fit to give you
to my care, even if it was only
for a small time. He blessed me greatly
and I did not deserve it but he gave
me you and when I get up there,
I am going to thank him with
overwhelming joy,” he professed.
“Oh Daddy, I love you so much.”

He smiled weakly but his heart
was grinning from ear to ear. Looking
up at his son-in-law he said,
“Its your job to take care of my
little girl now. You love her through
everything, you protect her from all
harm and you stand up for her
when the world is against her. You are
her only hero now, her only Earthly guardian.
You pray for strength as it is a tough
job but it is the only job I ever loved.” Tears
streamed down his Son-in-laws face
with renewed vigor as he replied with the
same promise he had made the father on
his wedding day, “I will love, protect,
and honor your daughter for every moment
in time the Lord blesses me. I will be her
hero, I will be her champion, I will protect her from all
Earthly harm as long as I draw breath into this body.”

With that promise reaffirmed, the father
gave the younger man a half-crooked
smile for the very first time.
The daughter felt the strength leave her
father’s hand.

“Daddy…Daddy… I love you always.”

A Flutter Beyond Time

A small flutter in the corner of your vision you turn to peer at the large willow standing sentry just beyond your window. This aged warrior is your favorite tree in the entire yard, for its root trunk is twisted and bent but it still reached ever upwards to a magnificent height. The webbing of bare branches eases your search for the movement.
Ah, just as you thought, a smile grows upon your countenance. The sparrow has returned busying itself preparing a sturdy home. Fragments of the past year are hurled upwards and outwards in rapid succession. His mate lands on the edge and tucks some fresh material into the framework.
Captivated by this mystical dance of remodeling you move from the pulsating blue-white light, which had held your attention most of the day. Weary eyes watch the pair flitter and flutter in a hurried choreography as green buds emerge and expand until the pair is nearly hidden from view. The caress of the wind billows out the full branches giving you long glimpses of their efforts.
You to continue your vigil not questioning whether time is passing through you or whether it is you who is passing through time.
The female sits upon three eggs. The very next gust of wind reveals three healthy fledglings on the verge of taking their first leap of faith. Large rain drops splatter with determination upon the window as you watch the fierceness of the storm whipping the willow branches into a frenzy obscuring your view of the family. This summer has been full of storms but this one, this night certainly will mark your memory. A blinding flash punctuated by a deafening crack ruthlessly severes a large branch. Flames, desperate for life, lick aggressively at the limb but the deluge smothers their efforts.
How could the sparrows have survived this onslaught? You heart pounds in your ears as you wipe away your frantic breath prints from the pane. The carnage strikes horror in your soul as you scan the debris . Night surrenders to day with strong sun rays making your flesh uncomfortable.
There, a fledgling on the ground, both parents are hopping and dancing encouraging their child to use its wings and get off the ground. You release the breath you were not aware you were holding. It was not created to dwell upon the ground, it should not be there, no…it’s life was meant to be lived in the air. White knuckles grasp tightly to the tweed curtains adorning the pattern of panes serving as your vantage point. Silently, you chant your encouragements to the tiny creature. Flapping its wings reveals a twisted mangled wing. Your heart hits your stomach knowing what the parents do not. A pair of interested eyes studies the situation before pouncing to claim its prize. The parents swoop sharply at the head of the creature but it is too late.
Your eyes travel back to the nest as the oval leaves change from a healthy green to a vibrant yellow. A shower of bright yellow flakes are carried from the branches as if the sun were a piñata and had burst open. The nest is empty, the sparrows on their way south. Ice crystals form at the edge of each pane beginning an elegant journey toward the center until a dense filter obscures the form of the willow until it becomes a shadow of what it once was.
Turning, you catch your reflection seeing your mother’s face staring back. Grey tresses have become your glory and deep lines map the struggles you have endured. You reclaim your seat and are drawn back into the blue-white pulsating light. You find a formal document instead of the term paper you had been working on this morning. The cursor blinks at the end of the phrase, “…of sound mind and body hereto bequeath…”.