I was an only child until I was six years old (before my brother made his surprise debut) and I was every bit a Daddy’s girl. We were inseparable in every sense of the word and I knew I was the apple of his eye.
Some of my favorite memories were riding beside him to school each day where he taught high school and I went to kindergarten. We would get to school early, eat junk for breakfast (which my Mom would pretend not to know about) and I would play school in his classroom while he prepared for the day. He would then walk me to class and tell me how much he loved me and I boy, did I feel like the most special girl in all the world. I remember anxiously waiting to see him peek in my classroom at the end of the day, just as excited to pick me up as I was to run into his arms. We would talk all the way home and while I don’t remember all the exact conversations I remember how I felt: safe, comfortable, incredibly loved and cherished. I never once wondered if he loved me, and that made all the difference.
It’s fun to think back on how our relationship has grown and evolved, from my grade school days to Dad battling his fear of flying to take me on my first mission trip to Panama in high school to giving me away on my wedding day and forcing back the tears.
Now at 31, a wife and mother and still a daddy’s girl, my daughter is now the apple of Dad’s world. Turning two next week, she asks about him every morning and waits anxiously at the door for him to come over for supper. She reaches for his hand always and he drops everything to be with her, to listen to her and to play.
I watch the two of them together and can’t help but get nostalgic for those mornings driving to school together in his red truck, just the two of us. He often tells me, with tears in his eyes, that being Annie’s “Nandy” is like reliving his time with me when I was little. It’s the most special thing to watch and I am forever thankful for such a good Daddy that is now, the best Nandy.
Here’s to all the grandfathers, Papas, Pops, and Nandys out there – your love makes all the difference.