Friday, September 21, 2012

Two Hands

It's those innocent, passing comments that perhaps hurt most. The genuine and true accolades for a dad spending quality time with his kid. "He needs some daddy time—he’s been acting up." "That date with Daddy sure did her good!" I find myself wanting to rush to my girl and cover her ears. To tell her that God is her father—but that I can't imagine how it must hurt to not have a daddy of her very own here with her. One who plays and laughs and tickles. And sings bedtime songs in a voice so low and soothing that it lulls her to sleep on his big, strong chest. And how she must desperately want her own daddy-daughter date. How it's been so long since she's spent time with him... 

on Daddy's shoulders last summer at the farmer's market
But she is still very young. I don't think she quite understands those conversations. But maybe she does. And if she does not now, she surely will soon. I certainly understand them. And more. I understand how disadvantaged my daughter is. And seeing the pain of her loss is sometimes nearly too much for me to bear. What's worse, I can't fix it. I can't protect her from the pain.
She tells me as we walk hand-in-hand in the parking lot, "I have two hands. This one's for you. And this one [the empty one] is for Daddy." Oh, she gets it. She may not understand it all in my adult-like way, but here's what she knows: I have this hand that is supposed to be in Daddy's. But it's not.
People—even those close to me—forget, I think, that my life is not normal. Not like theirs. I don't have a husband to bear half of the child-caring load. Or one to enjoy with me all the amazing things about our girl. One with whom to discuss parenting and discipline. It's just me. I have to be enough for her. Or I have to assemble people around us that can help me to be enough for her.
And I truly do not want people to walk on their tiptoes around me—to change who they are and what they would normally say simply because they are in my presence. Because it might hurt my feelings. I guess what I want is to be strong enough. And confident enough in the loving providence that brought me to this different-from-my-peers life I now have. And I want to be more than just strong and confident. I want to be truly joyful that my friends' kids have their daddies. And somehow, I want to see something of a blessing in all of this loss.


  1. Oh Emily, I totally, totally get it. I miss my dear husband but it is for my children that my heart aches. I find myself getting very frustrated with all those reports on the dangers for children who grow up without a father but I want to cry out, "They can still be strong spiritually." And I want to say "It's not my fault or theirs." Oh this crazy world we live in. I'm so thankful that when I feel that way I am comforted. He never leaves me alone or my children or your daughter, Praise God! Lean hard on Him Emily. and thanks so much for your sharing and honesty. Bless you sister.


  2. Alicia Carlson-AndersonOctober 2, 2012 at 12:55 AM

    I am thinking of you and praying for you. I am praying that God's peace and love will surround you and flow within you every moment of every day. You are such a beautiful, strong, and inspirational woman--I hope to grow to be more like you. I love you, my dear friend, and I am sending lots of love, hugs, kisses, and many blessings to your beautiful little girl! Love, Alicia Carlson-Anderson