Through the magic of email, forwarded by a friendly acquaintance, comes a real tearjerker. Get out the Kleenex.
Her hair was up in a ponytail,
Her favourite dress tied in a bow.
Today was daddy’s day at school,
And she couldn’t wait to go.
But her mommy tried to tell her
That she probably should stay home.
Why the kids might not understand,
If she went to school alone.
But she was not afraid,
She knew just what to say.
What to tell her classmates
Of why he wasn’t there today.
But still her mother worried,
For her to face this day alone.
And that was why, once again,
She tried to keep her daughter home.
But the little girl went to school,
Eager to tell them all.
About a dad she never sees
A dad who never calls.
Daddies were along the wall in back,
For everyone to meet.
Children squirming impatiently,
Anxious in their seats.
One by one the teacher called
A student from the class.
To introduce their daddy,
As seconds slowly passed.
At last the teacher called her name,
Every child turned to stare.
Each of them was searching,
A man who wasn’t there.
“Where’s her daddy at?”
She heard a boy call out.
“She probably doesn’t have one,”
Another student dared to shout.
And from somewhere near the back,
She heard a daddy say,
“Looks like another deadbeat dad,
Too busy to waste his day.”
The words did not offend her,
As she smiled up at her mom.
And looked back at her teacher,
Who told her to go on.
And with hands behind her back,
Slowly she began to speak.
And out of the mouth of this child,
Came words incredibly unique.
“My daddy couldn’t be here,
Because he lives so far away.
But I know he wishes he could be,
Since this is such a special day.
“And though you cannot meet him,
I want you to know.
All about my daddy,
And how much he loves me so.
He loved to tell me stories,
He taught me to ride my bike.
He surprised me with pink roses,
And taught me to fly a kite.
“We used to share fudge sundaes
And ice cream in a cone.
And though you cannot see him,
I’m not standing here alone.
“‘Cause my daddy’s always with me,
Even though we are apart,
I know because he told me,
He’ll forever be in my heart.”
With that her little hand reached up
And lay across her chest.
Feeling her own heartbeat,
Beneath her favourite dress.
From somewhere in the crowd of dads,
Her mother stood in tears.
Proudly watching her daughter,
Who was wise beyond her years.
For she stood up for the love
Of a man not in her life.
Doing what was best for her,
Doing what was right.
She dropped her hand back down,
Staring straight into the crowd,
She finished with a voice so soft,
But its message was clear and loud.
“I love my daddy very much,
He’s my shining star.
And if he could, he’d be here,
But Heaven’s just too far.
“You see, he is a Canadian soldier
And died just this past year,
When a roadside bomb hit his convoy
And taught us all to fear.
“But sometimes I close my eyes,
And it’s like he never went away.”
And then she closed her eyes,
And saw him there that day.
And to her mother’s amazement,
She witnessed with surprise,
A room full of daddies and children,
All starting to close their eyes.
Who knows what they saw,
Who knows what they felt inside.
Perhaps for merely a second,
They saw him, too, at her side.
“I know you’re with me, daddy,”
To the silence she called out.
What happened next made believers
Of those once filled with doubt.
Not one in that room could explain it,
For each of their eyes were closed.
But there on the desk beside her,
Was a fragrant, long-stemmed rose.
* * *
Lest we forget. Lest we forget.
I’m going out to plant an additional tree or two, just to remove the carbon footprint left by the Kleenex tissue used.
Take care, ’cause we care.