We were a couple weeks out from a much needed family vacation.
It had been more than three years since we had left town as a big ole wonderful herd. I had been on several out of town business trips since then, but that isn’t the same. We were all pretty pumped at the idea of getting out of town and relaxing together as a family.
Since we have a rather large family (13 Rod kids + 2 Rod adults = 15 Rods) it can be a little difficult to find vacation activities that do not require us to take out a second mortgage on our home.
Disney…definitely out of the picture. International travel…not gonna happen any time soon.
Thankfully, Vikki and I are both extremely frugal and have become pros at making each dollar stretch across our large households needs.
So, anyway, Vikki was searching the web for low cost or even free events/attractions for us to enjoy during our holiday.
In her searches she stumbled across a community orchestra that gives free concerts all summer long. And one just happened to be in town during our vacation week. Awesome! We would definitely make it a point to attend. Live music and free is a perfect combo!
I love many kinds of music and classical is definitely near the top of my list. They were going to be playing a series of Star Trek songs as well. Sweet! I am more a Star Wars fan, but that still sounded cool.
Tune those strings and adjust those reeds, because the Rods are going to a concert!!
Those closest our family best know we have a secret. Well, it isn’t actually much of a secret exactly. More of a flaw. But it sorta defines our family, just not in a good way.
We are always late. For just about everything.
I know it is rude. I know it is inconsiderate. I am not proud of it. But walk a mile in our shoes and I think you will be a little more sympathetic.
So it was no true surprise, even though we tried super hard, that we were late for the concert. About 20 minutes late. Someday we will be on time, I promise. It may be when all the kids have grown up and moved out, but the day will come!
We made our typical grand entrance.
The orchestra was in the middle of a piece so we just lined up against the back wall. There really weren’t any seats available except toward the front and who wants to walk to the front of an auditorium in the middle of a song, right? Awkward.
And those awkward moments kept piling up until we found seats along the left side of the room, toward the front. We tried not to be a disturbance, but still got a few crooked looks. It was fine. My kids are used to the stares, double takes, and sideways glances from people not accustomed to seeing such a large family.
I could almost hear the thoughts echoing across the minds in the room…
“Where did all of those Mexicans come from? Is it free taco night? Wait, there aren’t any Mariachis playing tonight.”
Only kidding. A little.
So, I took up the rear and was the last to sit down carrying little four month old Becca in her baby seat. She seemed to be relaxed and ready to let me enjoy the concert…for about 15 seconds. Then, of course, she decided that she would sing along with the orchestra. But slightly off tune and kind of screechy. Then she got a little louder until she crescendoed (is that a word?) into a full blown wail. Ugh!
So I snatched her up and dashed out to the foyer. Fortunately the doors were propped open and I was able to settle down on a nice couch while bouncing little Becky on my knee. So we were both content.
What happened next I totally didn’t expect but wholeheartedly welcomed. Let’s call it some down home Midwest congeniality.
One by one, a steady stream of grandmas came by and took turns loving on little Becca: pinching her cheeks, holding her, talking to her, making her laugh. One even tried to put her to sleep. This went on for the last 15-20 minutes of the concert. It was pretty awesome.
One of the kind ladies looked me directly in the eyes and told me, “I used to have a plaque that said, ‘Anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.’”
Referring to Becca and not realizing that am I only two girls shy of having a dozen (that is terrifying thought) , she added, “Your life will never be the same.”
That made me think about the blessed life I live surrounded by ten chatty little girls. Indeed, it has never been the same since this steady stream of little girls have made their way into my life.
Starting with puny little Girlie (better known as Kristen) and ending with Becca Brownie, my life certainly has been changed forever. Changed absolutely for the better.
All of you Daddy’s with daughters know exactly what I am talking about.
There is a special place that God has reserved in every man’s heart for his daughter(s). It is a little pocket of love that rests just above the heart. As soon as the new daddy sees his precious little girl the pocket expands and suddenly bursts. That love drips all over his heart and turns it to absolute mush.
Instantly he becomes wrapped around her teeny tiny pinkie finger. Forever enslaved. But he doesn’t care. He has just hit the biggest jackpot in the world. He has become the richest man alive.
I have been privileged to experience that 10 times over. The connection between a Daddy and his daughters is truly an amazing one.
But be careful, it also extremely fragile. For your little princess will not remain a princess forever. No, she must spread her wings and fly. She must make her way in the world.
Daddy, the time will come when you may feel tossed aside like an old pair of ripped up jeans. You may feel as unimportant as last year’s weather report. You may feel like some little jerk with a baby face, a beat up car, and an empty bank account has wormed his way into your place.
But don’t be discouraged, for the saying is true.
“Daughters are forever.” And your little girl will forever be Daddy’s little girl.
She needs you. And she always will. Nothing will ever change that.
Would you take a moment and share one of your memories about your little girl or girls below? I would love to hear about them!