Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Protecting My Daughter


I realized early on, even within the pregnancy, that one of the strongest fatherly instincts surfacing within me was the desire to protect my daughter. Once Avery was big enough in the womb that we could feel her kicking, Tatum would often treat her like a circus trick. If she wanted to somebody to feel Avery’s kick, and Avery happened to be dormant, she would poke her belly and wake up our resting daughter. I would often try to defend my daughter, but to no avail. The attacker was too persistent, and in reality, stronger than me.

I’ve seen this trait come out even more after she has been born. Although my wife is well-researched, and I trust her wisdom as a mother, I’m often more cautious with taking her places and need my wife to reassure me. I want to protect her from anything that could harm her. I’m sure this desire for protection will become quite challenging as she gets older, and especially when she starts dating (in her late 20’s).

One of the worst feelings I have had so far as a father was listening to my daughter try to sleep with a stuffy nose. I felt helpless! When Tatum tried to feed her in the middle of the night, Avery was forced to eat, breathe, and cry through her mouth. And she was so hungry she was trying to do all three at once! I wanted to punish whoever got her sick, but unfortunately that person is WAY too likeable. (innocent smile)

So I got sick one day before Avery, and then watched my daughter follow suit. I hated the fact that I was the cause of her discomfort and pain. And since I was sick, I couldn’t hold her. So I get her sick, and then am banned from her presence. Not fun at all! The one bright spot is that Avery takes after her mother, and was an absolute trooper through her sickness (I think I cried from my stuffy nose more than she did from hers). But what I realized through the week was that this cold is just the beginning. Not only will I get her sick again, but there will be many other ways that I will not be able to protect Avery from her own father. My parenting is going to be drenched with my flaws and weaknesses. No matter how much I try, I will not even be close to being a perfect father, and Avery will be influenced by my shortcomings.

It’s hard to swallow. Although my character has grown throughout the years, and I continue to be molded by Christ, it’s inevitable that I will hurt Avery with my sarcasm. I will be selfish and pick me over my family. I will be unreasonable, angry, and judgmental at times, but hopefully I will also be apologetic, authentic, and forgiving.

And here is the greatest hope! Fortunately, Avery will have a perfect Father to balance me out. All I can hope is that my attempt at fatherhood will give her a small glimpse of His love for her. That when I show forgiveness and grace, Avery will understand it is Christ shining through me. I will shower her with my unconditional imperfect love and teach her of God’s perfect and persistent love. I will pray that Avery will choose to trust God enough to allow Him to lavish His love on her. And if my hopes and prayers are answered, and she chooses to receive His love, God will fill in the gaps that remain from my parenting and she will become the beautiful woman that God created her to be.

That truth gives me the grace that I need to be the best father possible.

3 comments:

Amber said...

made me tear up

sarah2413 said...

Awww!

Anonymous said...

God has some responsibility in her life too! As my father used to say to my mother to reassure her that she was doing a fine job at parenting.