Growing up as a child I was often teased and called a “black” Annie or told with my red-hair and freckles I should go as her for Halloween or try out of the part of her in the school play and the like. Little did people realize just how much this character and I really had in common. Like the fictional Annie most of us have known and loved, I am an orphan. That’s not the worst part…both of my natural parents are in fact still living and yet I still feel like an orphan more or less.
In my adult life, I’ve never felt like my parents genuinely wanted me. I know my father doesn’t. I’m 29 and holding and have never met him…even when he had the opportunity to meet me and his ONLY grandchildren he still chose not too. Thanks padre….love ya too dude. Not.
Though things have gotten dramatically better with my mother and I in recent times, I’ve never felt like she loved me or wanted me either. She used to tell me all the time how she kept me just to spite her own father, or that I was released early from the hospital and she wasn’t sure I was really hers or even that she’d take me back to K-Mart and get her money back if I wasn’t good. It wasn’t until I got old enough and brave enough (if you know my mom you know why it takes bravery to stand up to her) to confront her on how these statements made me feel that she stopped. Now though, as an adult and mother of my own children, I want to have a good solid relationship with my mother more than ever. The problem is, that’s not as easy to do as it is to say because it requires her energy and effort too and sometimes I’m just not sure if she really wants to use either when it comes to me.
I’ve said repeatedly that I feel like an orphan and yet both of my parents are still alive. It’s a sad statement but quite true. Or at least it was true until very recently.
Let me digress a bit though….
When I was in my late teens I met a little girl names Bekka. She was being raised by her grandparents because her mom was young and naïve and I fell in love with her. I moved in with her grandparents and helped take care of her. I contacted the college I had decided to go to and asked about family housing and was ready to take her with me. Her grandparents were all for it as well. She wasn’t my baby, I hadn’t adopted her, her mother and I were not best friends or anything (in fact I’ve never met her mother) and yet I loved her. I still love her though I haven’t seen her since she was 9 months old and she’s now old enough to be a mommy herself, I still think of her occasionally and wonder how her life turned out and did she grow up knowing she was loved. These are questions I’ll probably never know the answers to though. The point is…I loved her, and in my heart she was mine.
Years later, during one of the most vulnerable points of my life I met a man who has changed my life. Most people call him Dave or David. I however have the distinct pleasure of calling him Dad and Daddy. He’s only served in this capacity in my life for about 5 years now, but I am an admitted Daddy’s girl and will be till the day I die. Without my Dad’s love and influence during the critical first months after leaving my violent ex-husband, I’m not sure I’d be anywhere near the person I am right now.
What makes this story incredible is that, like me loving Bekka just because, my dad has chosen to love me for the same reason. He’s never dated my mom, he’s never even met my mom actually come to think of it. He’s no blood relation to me, he’s not my Home Teacher, Bishop, Stake President or the like. There’s really no reason for him to be in my life still other than the fact that he loves me. His love both encourages and inspires.
Recently he and I were having a conversation about something I was struggling with and I mentioned him legally adopting me because he and I both live in states that adoption of an adult is legal. I laughed explained that since he was married again, if he adopted me he and his lovely wife would have “yours mine and ours” and he chuckled a bit then said something to me that has made all the difference. In that single moment or two that he was speaking, I have never ever felt so loved and adored.
What did he say right? Don’t worry I’m going to tell you…after explaining why I wanted him to adopt me in the first place he explained that he had worked for the last two years and was still working hard to get to a point where he could financially adopt me. And then he went on to say…”I love you and I want you and you are not a disappointment to me.” Just remembering those words is enough to make me tear up, but I cried like a baby when I first heard them. You see I had told him that I cherished our relationship that it still amazed me how he loved me just because and that I was more afraid of disappointing him than my own biological parents. I told him that more than anything I wanted him to adopt me because that would mean I would belong to him and what an amazing feeling it is to know you belong.
My Dad has seen me at my lowest and loves and encourages me to reach my highest potential no matter what. I can talk to him about anything and no matter how inadequate I feel and how much I feel like I’m failing everyone around me, my Dad is there to assure me I haven’t failed him, he loves me, and he believes in me. He honestly thinks of it as a privilege to know my children and I and we are beyond blessed to have him in our lives. I am not sure I’ve ever loved anyone other than my own children as much as I love the man I call Daddy. When I think about how much I adore this man, it makes me cry tears of joy because I know that he loves me just as much.
I guess you could say he’s kinda my Daddy Warbucks because thanks to him, I no longer feel like little orphan Faith. I didn’t get to move into his mansion, he isn’t friends with the President, and he hasn’t officially done the paperwork to make me his, but just as Annie moved into Warbucks’ heart, I moved into my Dad’s and neither of our lives have been the same since. He is living proof that while most men can be a father, only someone truly special can be a dad.
It was about this exact time 5 years ago that a knock on my door changed my life in ways I am still recovering from. Most of those ways haven’t been necessarily good ways either. I don’t believe in coincidence or chance though and I believe that the events that led to that life altering knock at the door were necessary to bring my Dad and I together. As bad and difficult as everything has been since that knock came, I wouldn’t trade it because without the heartache and pain and struggle there would not be the joy of loving and being loved by my Dad.
I love you Daddy, thank you for wanting me and thank you even more for loving me. Your love and belief often make all the difference.