I will always be a daddy’s girl, even though my father passed away over seven years ago. If you are a daddy’s girl too, you will know exactly what I mean. What is a daddy's girl? A daddy’s girl is a daughter who was, and is, and will always be "the apple of dad’s eye!" In her mind she is sure that her daddy “hung the moon.” No matter how small in stature he is, a daddy’s girl knows with certainty her dad always has her back. She has the assurance that daddy will always catch her when she falls. A father teaches his daughter so many things. A daddy’s girl admires him so; she is a quick learner. Dad's pass so much on down to their daughter, that once they leave this earth a part of them remains behind. Their life is always lived through the memories of their daddy's girl.
As I recount the memories of my daddy through the eyes of this daddy's girl, a smile easily forms on my face. Daddy was one of a kind. My daddy took the words to Sinatra's signature song, "Have It Your Way!" literally and lived it! He walked to the beat of that tune and taught me to “be myself, no matter what!” and “to be true to yourself!” He also gave me the confidence to believe I could be whatever I wanted to be. This hope has given me the wings to fly thru life’s tough spots and to climb every mountain life presents. Lastly, he taught me to do little things greatly and to do great things with grace and ease.
Maybe those life lessons began to take route the day of my kindergarten graduation ceremony at St. Mary's Help of Christians School in Aiken, South Carolina. As always, my family was running late. We left my mom behind to get my younger siblings out of the car. As Dad took my hand heading toward the auditorium, I secured my cap with my other hand as we sprinted in step, with one another. Daddy watched carefully that I did not trip over my white graduation gown. It was my graduation day and the joy in my heart was the wind beneath my wings. As I neared the door, I was shocked to see that my classmates had already processed in and were seated on the stage. A tear ran down my face; I was sad that I had missed the moment. Daddy knew just what to do. He always did! He gave me an encouraging nod and said, "Ellen, go on up there! Go get on that stage!” Those words gave me the confidence I needed, as I processed in with boldness and pride up onto the stage, all alone but unafraid. I found my seat among the graduation class and my sadness turned into joy! As my name was called, I walked up to received my kindergarten diploma.
My dad never tried to be a square peg in a round hole. No, not my dad! He never bent or ever blended. He was comfortable in his own skin and lived life as himself. As a daddy’s girl, I learned to sing in the rain, dance through the storms of life and never apologize for being different. If daddy was the driver the radio was always on. We always sang along, loudly, in harmony with one another, with all our hearts. A frequent tune was the song, “High Hopes!” The song was about an ant who thought he could move a rubber tree plant; because he had high hopes, the ant was successful. "High Hopes" became a lifelong theme song, making defeat, disappointment, and discouragement never an option. These high hopes were so deeply planted in my soul that nothing seemed impossible. This unshakable confidence took me airborne as a stewardess at just nineteen, even though I was too young and too short. "High hopes" flew me through the airwaves as a radio co-host and television speaker. High hopes gave me the lift to take flight in whatever venture God called me to do. My confidence in God gave me the drive needed to view life as an adventure. My hope, like my Dad's, is in a "Big God" who never fails! What a faith-filled ride it has been! My daddy taught me about my Heavenly Father's love, though Daddy's my love.
Daddy’s girls never doubt they are loved. Trust is rarely an issue for them. The security of their daddy’s love plants firm, strong roots of trust automatically into their hearts. To her, daddy is a giant of a guy, somewhat of a super hero wearing an invisible cape who protects her from all harm. She faces life confident and unafraid. This gift cannot be duplicated. A wise father will strive with all his heart to make all his daughters daddy’s girls.
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I never felt more like my Daddy’s Girl than on my wedding day. We gathered together, family and friends from all around the country at Key Biscayne, Florida on May 1, 1974 at sunset by the ocean. The view was breath taking as the groomsmen rolled out the white carpet, then the bridesmaid and flower girl all dressed in yellow processed down the aisle. Daddy, once again, was my escort, just like on that kindergarten graduation day so long ago. This time I took his arm instead of his hand. All the butterflies left me as we processed down the aisle, boldly and unafraid. This time daddy got me to the monumental occasion on time. Joy was again the wind beneath my wings. I was flying toward the future of a life time together with the man I loved.
It had seemed like a lifetime, waiting for the wedding day to arrive, but at that moment, time stood still. I think it was God's way of planting the memory in my heart forever. I was so ready to marry the man of my dreams. I felt so safe, so proud, and so loved by my dad. With the ocean blue as our backdrop, I processed down the aisle toward my groom. Everything was picture perfect. Suddenly stopping dead in his tracks, yet sporting a grin, daddy looked me straight in the eyes, and I knew something was wrong. I could detect a fatherly concern in his voice as daddy said, “Ellen, where is the music?” The music? I had forgotten the music! Our picture-perfect wedding day could have been shattered, but as always, daddy knew just what to do. Without skipping a beat he began to sing, “Don, don, da, don…don, don, da, don…" My heart was full of joy, as I joined in the melody harmonizing with him. I squeezed his arm and he squeezed mine. I was never more proud of my dad than at that moment. My father always knew best! My Daddy always brought the music and the high hopes.
When we reached my groom, Dad proudly placed my arm in Patrick’s and a calming peace took over my heart. I knew everything was going to be all right. Being Daddy’s girl had somehow prepared me to be Pat’s wife. I knew Pat would be a man that I could love and trust; a man I could count on to have my back. He like daddy would always catch me if I fell. As the sun set over the horizon and we exchanged our “I do’s,” I felt my groom hung the moon!
My dad, who was both a nuclear chemist and an artist taught me that "Life is an empty canvas! You can paint on it anything you want to paint." Then daddy encouraged me with the words, "Ellen, I think that you should paint a masterpiece!" On my journey through life, I have come realize my daddy was right. Life is an empty canvas and everyone has the choice to paint whatever they want to paint. As for me, "I want to paint a masterpiece!"
I will always be a Daddy's Girl! On this Father's Day, I thank my Heavenly Father that my earthly father handed down high hopes to me. Now I pass those same high hopes down to my children. What words of wisdom has your dad handed down to you? This Father's Day be sure and honor your father for being the father God has given you. Dad's out there my hat is off to you! I encourage you to give your daughters wings, high hope and an unshakable faith. Daughters need dads to look up to. In their eyes, you are a giant of a man, a super hero who wears an invisible cape, and protects her from all harm. In her mind you too hung the moon! All daughters want to be the "Apple of Daddy's Eye," a Daddy's Girl!
Copyright 2016 Ellen Mongan
About the Author
Ellen Mongan, a Catholic writer and speaker, has been married more than 40 years to Deacon Pat Mongan. They have 7 children and 12 grandchildren. Ellen is a host of WOW Radio Podcasts, a religious columnist for the Augusta Chronicle, and has spoken on both radio and television. She is the founder of Sisters in Christ, Little Pink Dress Ministry, and Women-Fests.