Yesterday while sitting with Goldilocks, our foster princess, a friend of mine who was visiting, began having a conversation with her…
“Goldilocks, what makes you happy?”
While smiling from ear to ear, I shifted in my seat, eagerly awaiting to hear her response. I must admit I was confident she would point to me and go on and on how it makes her happy when we play baby dolls or take her on early morning wagon rides. I thought she might even mention how it makes her happy when I give her candy or whip up the most chocolatey chocolate milk she has ever tasted each morning. But nope. She said without hesitation, “When Daddy Dan pushes me on the swing! Me go high!” She then proceeded to giggle as if reminiscing, and I thought, eh, she is right. When Dan pushes her on the swing, it does make her happy. And not just a little bit happy, but the kind of happy that makes her squeal so loud she almost pees her pants with excitement whenever he even mentions going outside. Playing baby dolls, going on wagon rides, and drinking chocolate milk does not hold a candle to the joys he brings her on that swing.
“Goldilocks, what is your favorite thing to do?”
While glancing over at Goldilocks, I began thinking of her possible answers. Would she mention playing in the pool with me or visiting my Grandma for lunch? Maybe she would talk about how she loves to visit my parents and play in their paddle boat. But, as my mind began to think of all her “favorite things to do,” she blurted out, “when me go with Daddy Dan on the bike.” Uh?! Is Dan steak and the rest of us bologna? My thoughts at this point were to move on to the next question, please.
“Goldilocks, who loves you?”
Finally! I know I have to be included somewhere in this answer, right? So with confidence, I sat straight up in my chair only to slump further down as I heard, “Daddy Dan and Jesus!” Uh? That’s it? What about me? The one who snuggles with you on the couch. The one who makes your favorite homemade waffles with sausage links or attends all of your baby doll’s birthday parties. Doesn’t she know I love her too? And to the moon and back?
“Goldilocks, what makes you sad?”
Oh great! I just knew this is where my name would probably come into play as she tells the nice friend of mine about the time I put her in time out for not picking up her toys or told her no to the Twinkie because she didn’t finish her meal. But nope! Instead, she says, “When Daddy Dan goes to work.”
Throughout the entire question and answer session, it was always “Daddy Dan this and Daddy Dan that.” And I hate to admit it, but in the beginning, I was jealous. Like, really jealous. But the more this precious three-year-old who smiled from ear to ear told stories of the two of them playing together and talked about her love for him, the more I found myself smiling…and sitting up straighter…and giggling right along with her. Sure it would have been nice to be included in her top favorite things or hear my name listed after Jesus, but it’s obvious she adores her “Daddy Dan,” and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This Father’s Day, I not only celebrate my own Daddy but also “Daddy Dan.” He loves her as a father should, and even though she is only with us temporarily, I believe she will forever remember the love he has given her and the giggles he has brought to her life.
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