Most of us have heard the story of the prodigal son. He decided to leave his father’s house and take off on his own. It is good to know that the story ends with the son returning home. That gives hope to other families. My story is the opposite. My father left when I was a baby. I grew up with a lot of questions. I dreamed of what it would be like to be “Daddy’s little girl.” My father came to visit about once every four years.I never knew what town he was living in, or how to find him. His short visits were exciting to me. I loved my dad very much.
I will never forget the last phone call I received from him. I had not heard from him in a long time. He was usually cheerful when he phoned or visited. This time was different. He told me he had some bad news. He had cancer. The doctors said he had three months to live. Even as I write this, I can still feel the pain of that conversation.He told me where he was living. It was only an hour away. I began driving to his house every day. I held his hand. I kissed his forehead. I knew he was in pain. He tried to keep a smile on his face. Some days, he could talk more than others.
He told me about his childhood. I asked about his first love. He told me about his first car. I never asked why he left those many years ago. It didn’t matter. What mattered was that I had another day to be with him. I wish my childhood had been different. I always wanted to be “Daddy’s girl.” I was his girl for three months. The most precious visits were the ones when we talked about Heaven. We both found comfort in knowing that someday we will be together forever. I would tell adults who have been abandoned by a parent to keep an open heart. People make mistakes. Time is precious. If a prodigal parent comes home, please don’t reject them.
Maybe you are a parent who wasn’t there for your child. I urge you to contact them. Go to them. There is never an age that your child doesn’t need you. I have memories of my dad now. I know the touch of his hand. I am “Daddy’s girl.”