Last night my daughter came face to face in the highschool parking lot with the man who once hung the moon, and who no longer does. She could have rightfully walked by him without acknowledging him. She could have spoken to him the exact way he last spoke to her, which was awful. She could have yelled at him, said a snide remark or even asked a million questions…but she didn’t.
Instead she spoke to him and his wife, “Hi, how are you guys?” with a smile and genuine kindness. He asked for a hug, she obliged. His wife asked for a hug, and she obliged again. He commented on how grown up she is and she responded with how old she is now. He asked about school and she shared that she is in the top 7% of her class. He said, “so college then?” and she confirmed while telling him her plans to attend college in the midwest in the field of Science & Agricultural.
She told the very man she used to be everything to, and was everything to her – everything he has missed out on in mere minutes. She highlighted who she was, her interests, her maturity and intention on being kind to the very person she had every reason to be unkind to. She told us it wasn’t like she was talking to her father, it was more like a family friend you haven’t seen in while.
I could not imagine coming face to face with my own child and seeing them growing into such an incredible person without me. To have my own child recount their age, their dreams and how they are less like me and more like the man who has repeatedly shown up without ever being asked.
I imagine his heart broke some as he studied her face. Taking mental pictures and audio clips as she spoke just in case it’s another couple years before they speak again. I imagine he was taken back by how well she holds herself, how educated and well spoken she was. I imagine when the quietness of his house hit last night, that maybe some tears rolled out of his own eyes over the regret he must have that are hidden deep beneath the lies he tells himself and so many others.
I’ve prayed for that man in the parking lot more than I ever care to admit, and more than any other person who has hurt me and two of the most important people to me. I’ve prayed for things that would tear my heart apart and potentially my husband’s if it healed hers. That’s the crippling and beautifully raw part of being a parent, you’d choose to break your own heart if it peices your childs together.
My heart has ached over the years because a daughter needs a father. Sometimes though, the father isn’t the man in the highschool parking lot that you’re polite to in passing. Maybe he is the man in the stands waiting for you to claim your seat beside him and talk to about the man in the parking lot. Maybe it’s the man who’s terrified he’ll lose you, and would never miss a second of your life. Maybe it’s the man God provided to step in when the other stepped out.
Last night my heart healed some as I watched the work God has done with her, myself, our family and even the man in the parking lot. When she did the difficult thing, the right thing and left me in awe of the young woman she is today. It healed a little knowing that the man who really hung the moon, is well equipped to supply a man in the stands for a daughter to sit beside.