There are little girls who truly and unconditionally love their dads. Little girls who follow their dads around, faithfully by their side, even if it’s only to the dump or to garage sales. And there are little girls who believe their fathers can do no wrong. Most people call them, “Daddy’s girls.”
I know, because I was one of those girls. I adored my dad, and he adored me. He was my guy, and I knew I would always love him to the end.
Knowing this, you can only imagine the pain I felt the night I stood at the top of the stairs as I listened to my oldest sister screaming at my dad. I quietly stood there, and watched as my dad packed his things, saying nothing. My heart broke as I saw my mom standing there in tears, softly crying out my dad’s name. I sat down on the stairs, and began to put the pieces together. Though I was only nine, I was smart enough to realize that my dad was leaving me. As he finished packing his things, he glanced up the stairs and noticed me sitting there. I can only imagine how it broke his heart to see his little girl in tears, to see the look of abandonment on my young face. His voice cracked as he softly told me, “Daddy’s going away for a little while.”
Then he gave me a hug and a kiss, turned, and walked out the door.
That night, I came to find out that my dad had been cheating on my mom with another woman in the town where he was working. He would often stay the week there at the office, then come home to us on the weekends. My dad had always hated being alone, and I guess the time he was away was too much for him to handle. Due to his infidelity, my parents divorced after 23 years of marriage.
I went to see my dad every other weekend, and we worked to rebuild the connection that was once so strong. I constantly tried to find the good in him, and wanted so badly to defend his terrible choices. I didn’t know then, why I felt so devoted to a man who had caused my first heartbreak.