Sometimes it’s interesting to read how other dads are coping with work-life balance. Here’s a story from a girl from the US. Her father was in the army and was still able to find the time to help and protect his daughter.
A father brings a lot to the family structure including guidance, protection, and being a provider. There isn’t anything a father won’t do to protect his child, and this common trait is shared worldwide. There is so much to be said about a unique bond between a father and daughter. This bond is so strong that most girls end up being branded “daddy’s little girl” for the duration of their lives.
Growing up with a parent in the military is tough because you’re always moving around and barely in one place to make friends. It is even worse when your dad is deployed to other states, other countries or undisclosed assignments for months.
There were a lot of holidays when my dad and I were separated. Thanks to my two older brothers and mom I was always merry, but I still missed his presence. The times he was there were always intended to build precious memories.
After most his active duty in the military, we ended up with a permanent residence in Fort Bragg, NC. We lived in the barracks for a while, but it wasn’t long before my dad brought us a new 2-story home with a single car garage.
My dad is gentle and kind, but he was stern in his disciplinary action. The few times we needed it, he assured us, it was because he loved us and only wanted the best for his children. He showed endless affection for my mom, showered her with gifts, and always had a kind word to say including how good she looked with a new hair-do or outfit. I knew the man that would capture my heart would mimic my father because he showed me what a good man should treat me like through his unwavering affection for my mother.
In fact, my dad had his bad days, but we rarely saw it as kids. I can remember him coming home from work and being exhausted, but still having time to help me with my homework. I know the army was taking a toll on his body because he began having problems with his back. There were many nights when my dad needed his icy hot pack and his lazy-boy chair. We never held it against him for having a cold beer. He still managed to attend our quirky family functions including barbecues and movie nights.
As a child, I suffered from fainting spells that were later diagnosed as epilepsy. Because of the seizures I was always closely watched by my family. I began to understand how difficult it was for my dad to be away from me when I had an episode. He made special calls to ask how I was feeling and to remind me of how strong I am. There were times, I felt like I wasn’t going to make it without my dad’s encouragement. My mom and my brothers always did their best to console me though.
It was tough when my dad was deployed to Afghanistan for a year. He had been away for prolonged periods of time before, but I had been experiencing more frequent attacks, and this made it all harder.
My mom and dad agreed, it would be better, if I was homeschooled. It really was an experience after attending public school for the past seven years. But I did really well, and my dad was more at ease knowing, I was being schooled at home in case of an emergency.
Then in one summer my dad suddenly had a plan, I just knew it. The problem was I didn’t know what it is. He was calling home more than usual. Christmas was nearly five months away. My birthday had already passed in January. So what could he have up in his sleeve? He was the master of surprises and never disappointed me, but then again, I was hoping that it wasn’t another move or something worse.
One day I was sitting in front of the television watching my favorite episode of Sponge Bob when the doorbell rang. I was waiting for my mom or one of my brother’s to answer the door, but there wasn’t a response from anywhere in the house (which wasn’t normal). I scurried to the door.
When I came to the door, there was a box there with a big red ribbon and a card with my name.
“Dear Chandra, I may be a million miles away, but you’re always in my heart. I am always with you, even when we’re apart. As your dad, I always want to be there to protect you, and I hope with this gift, I can accomplish that purpose. Love, dad”.
I realized the box was moving and out comes a beautiful chocolate Labrador. I began to cry tears of joy as my family reappeared. We named him Butch. More importantly, he’s a service dog that detects seizures.
Being a dad isn’t always easy, but your children will recognize the effort and love you for it. I am now recently married, expecting my first child, and my dad is excited to be a granddad to my child.