On Monday January 21, 2013 we watched the second official Inauguration of the 44 President of The United States of America “President Barak H. Obama”. The monumental event was viewed by millions around the world as all eyes were upon America’s 1 family. As the comments swirled around the difference in demeanor of our second term president from the first time around and the classic style of our 1st Lady Michelle and her new bangs to whose designer gown she would choose. I watched the interaction between our President and his daughters Sasha & Malia, and how we've watched them grow over the last four years. The one thing that hadn’t changed is that they are still “Daddy’s” little girls.
Some have never known what it is like to have a good relationship with their earthly father. I've been blessed to have had such a one. My dad (Alfred M. Barnes) whom I affectionately called “Daddy” referred to my younger sister, brother and me as “Kid” when talking with us. Anytime he answered a question or expounded on a subject (In a Bill Cosby type of way) he’d always start with “Kid…” We knew we were in for a long ride and there would be no short version (Ergo, my passion for writing and why it’s by the grace of God to do so in 1000 words or less).
My dad always had a word of wisdom to impart to us: “It’s not what people do, but how you respond”, “Tomorrow is not promised: You live for today, learn from yesterday and hope for tomorrow”, “Our primary purpose in life is to please God”, “I may not be the richest man but the most valuable thing I can ever give you is what I’m telling you now”. That last quote couldn't have been truer as I live by words spoken by my dad each day.
And he balanced those nuggets of wisdom with playful jokes and pranks, always surprising us with unexpected laughs that still make me chuckle when I think about them. But when I needed real answers and real talk, he was all ears and I never felt as if any question was too dumb or any subject off-limits. I could always talk to “Daddy”.
Even after I was grown, married and with children of my own, I found a place of safety and unbiased advice when daddy told me “Kid, whatever you do, stand by your husband. Together, there is nothing you won’t be able to face”. Those were some of the last words my dad spoke to me about a month before he passed away. And those words (along with the Logos & Rhema) have kept me through the thick and the thin times of my marriage.
As an adult, when the longing to be heard as only a daddy can hear, I found it in my dad. The place I could (relatively) climb up into his lap, lay my head on his shoulder and pour out to him my heart. And although I’d grown up, have children calling me “Mommy’ and to some may be a strong, able and assertive woman, somewhere within was still a little girl.
She is a little girl who sometimes can be unsure of herself and needs to know that she is valued. Who at any given moment, though smiling and receiving accolades and yes even criticisms of others, can become weary and sometimes need to take a “stay-cation” just to talk to Daddy.
My daddy passed away years ago, and there have been times in my life when I longed to hear his voice once again. A few years ago, I experienced such a time. Feeling frustrated and not being where I felt I needed to be, I questioned my Abba Father (Daddy) about it. As I was moving items off my dresser as I’d done many times before to dust, a picture became a message. It was a picture of me at four years old. Only days before, my husband had said “I don’t know what it is, but something happens to you, and you become like...I don’t know (and he pointed to the picture) that little girl”
It brought to mind an incident that occurred when I was that age: My parents lived in the downstairs apt of my dad’s aunt and uncles home. I’d come upstairs and my aunt was about to pour me a glass of milk when she received a telephone call. I (wanting to be a big girl and help her out) went into the refrigerator and took out the glass bottle of milk. Before I could get it out, (struggling to grasp the slippery bottle with my toddler hands) lost the battle and it fell to the floor and shattered. Milk & glass went everywhere. My aunt (not thinking and still on the phone) turned around at the sound of the shattered glass and slapped my face. I ran downstairs and (with the hand print still on my face), my mom and aunt had some not so pleasant words. That was then. Now, in my spirit I heard: “From that moment until now, you have viewed correction as punishment and this is not always the case. The feeling you get when corrected is the same as you felt then. You are not what you did and you will make mistakes, but don’t be afraid to try. I have never stopped seeing you as “That little Girl”.
I realized at that moment, that an incident I hadn’t thought of in years had robbed me of my youth, my freedom and my growth. That the Father corrects those he loves and he loves his little girls. And though I've grown into adulthood, have had some peaks and gone through some valleys, the one thing that has never changed is that I am still my “Daddy’s little Girl!