August 9, 2009

Til Death Do Us Part

“Will you play with me, Daddy?” Asks Swee’Pea, her chocolate-brown eyes looking up at me as she sits on the floor in the playroom, idly sifting through her tiaras, bracelets and necklaces that sit in a pile on the floor in front of her. I have just descended the stairs and there is no other response possible to this request than, “Yes, Swee’Pea, I’ll play with you.”

“What do you want to play?” I ask, thinking she will want to play Princess or have a tea party or perhaps put me in jail like she likes to do. But Swee’Pea has other ideas.

“I want to play Married.” she says. And with that, she scoops up a bouquet of fake flowers and stands up. “Okay, Swee’Pea. Who are you gonna marry?” I ask, thinking she has some handsome prince in mind and that I will play the role of the clergy marrying her to her knight in shining armor. “I want to marry you, Daddy.” she responds. And as I look into her eyes, I smile. I am honored that she has chosen me and knowing that this is her way of telling me that she loves me, I gladly accept her kind invitation. “That would be wonderful, Swee’Pea. How do we get married?”

“We dance and then I throw the flowers.” Of course. It is so simple in her young mind and so natural to want to marry her Daddy. I take her hands and begin to sing aloud “Here comes the Swee’Pea… Here comes the Swee’Pea…” We twirl around the room dancing while singing as I hold the little hands of my darling little girl. Suddenly, Mommy puts on a familiar song on the stereo and we shift from my pathetic warbling to the soft melody of Butterfly Kisses. We continue to dance and as I listen to the song I can’t help but wonder how fast time will fly and someday, too soon for my taste, she will no longer want to marry her Daddy and dance with him in the light of day and I’ll be left with memories of a little girl who thought there wasn’t anything better than her Daddy.

The music comes to an end and I dip her low on the floor. She hands me one of the flowers and we toss the flowers into the air three or four times for good measure. The moment has ended. But the memory won’t.

*********************************************

I am seated on the couch and it is just after dinner. We are about to head upstairs to get ready for bed when both TheMonk, then Swee’Pea, climb into my arms and snuggle their heads on my chest.

“I remember when you were babies, you used to snuggle together like this on my chest and it was my favorite thing in the whole world.” I tell them.

TheMonk ponders this and says, “Someday, I’ll have babies to snuggle on my chest too.” As there is a pause, it is evident TheMonk wants some clarity, knowing he cannot have babies himself. “But who will have the babies, Daddy?”

“I don’t know, Monkey. Someday, you will find someone who you love and you will get married and have babies.” I reply.

Swee’Pea, hearing this, says to me, “But Daddy, I will marry TheMonk.” I smile as my mind thinks back to our wedding “ceremony” earlier in the day. “No, Swee’Pea. When you are a grown-up I’m sure you will find someone who makes you happy and you will marry him. You can’t marry TheMonk.”

Swee’Pea cannot understand this and the sadness in her little voice as she rests her head on my chest, inches from TheMonk’s head, is palpable. “But Daddy, I love him. And I love you. I want to marry you.”

And there it is. The two “men” in her life are the only ones she can imagine being with and I smile at this bittersweet moment. I kiss the top of her head and breathe in the smell of her freshly washed hair. “I know, Swee’Pea. I love you too.”

I don’t want to shatter her illusion just yet. For now, she has her brother and her Daddy to keep her safe and I know that my job will be to teach her about how she should be treated by men. So that when the day comes for her to choose, she will choose someone who loves her as dearly and treats her as dearly as her brother and her father.

In the meantime, I’ll cherish the moment.

26 Comments

  1. I don’t have quite these same experiences since my daughter wants to wrestle with me and play basketball (I think I have her older brother to thank for that), so I simply read this with awe. I understand how much you must cherish these moments. I’m so glad that there are men like you who love daughters like this. A lesser man might have brushed off his little girl because it wasn’t manly to have a ceremony like that. It is. Well done, sir.

    Comment by Dan Smith — August 9, 2009 @ 10:40 pm

  2. You are obviously giving her a great example of the kind of man to marry. Well done Daddy.

    Oh, and THANKS ALOT for making me tear up at work. :)

    Comment by Kate — August 9, 2009 @ 11:17 pm

  3. Awww…thanks for sharing. I can’t wait for Da’Gorgeouses to want to marry DrillSgt. If he should happen to have a ceremony with them, or even a wedding dance, I’ll have to be sure to catch it on video! Thanks for sharing such a special memory!

    Hugs & Blessings!

    Comment by Mam├íChanga — August 9, 2009 @ 11:29 pm

  4. Ahh, those are the moments that make it all worth while and that tell you you’re doing a great job.
    My daughter also wants to marry her Daddy, and after a similar ceremony one day, she asked could she really marry Daddy when she grew up. We told her no that he was already married to Mommy. She of course replied, “How will I ever find someone as good as Daddy to marry?” After a few seconds of thoughtful contemplation, she answered her own question. “I know, I’ll just have to move to New York. It has lots of people, I’m sure I can find someone as good as Daddy to marry there. Don’t you think?” Currently we’re letting her stay with this delusion that New York City is the natural place for finding the perfect husband that’s just like Daddy – who is from Wyoming (who would rather be shot than have to spend time in a place as crowded as New York City).

    Comment by Ginger — August 10, 2009 @ 5:15 am

  5. This story would’ve gone a different direction if the setting were Mississippi instead of California.

    Comment by muskrat — August 10, 2009 @ 6:31 am

  6. Awwwwww.

    You are so much sweeter than I am. When Ian said he wanted to marry me I told him I was already married.

    Comment by Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah — August 10, 2009 @ 7:03 am

  7. Okay I must admit…I ummm teared up a bit when reading this. That is super sweet.

    Comment by Toni — August 10, 2009 @ 7:47 am

  8. :) Very sweet. I often picture my children at different stages… I have a vision of my husband dancing with my daughter from last year by the Christmas tree. I bawled when I imagined them in 20 years, doing the same at her wedding…

    Comment by tracey — August 10, 2009 @ 8:50 am

  9. What an amazing memory for you to treasure. So sweet. Enjoy every moment. It all goes by so fast.

    Comment by kathygee1 — August 10, 2009 @ 10:49 am

  10. Some will go a lifetime and never have one of those memories to keep. You have two. Congratulations.

    Comment by always home and uncool — August 10, 2009 @ 11:53 am

  11. *sniff* Not chuckling now, damn you.

    Comment by Maura ~ @MoBurns67 — August 10, 2009 @ 1:18 pm

  12. I wish my son would want to marry me. He always wants to marry Demi Lovato.

    Comment by ali — August 10, 2009 @ 1:34 pm

  13. They are both so dang sweet.

    Comment by Issa — August 10, 2009 @ 3:35 pm

  14. And the bride and groom are registered at Toys R Us and Baby Gap.

    Comment by Chicky Chicky Baby — August 10, 2009 @ 3:40 pm

  15. So sweet!

    Comment by Deanna — August 10, 2009 @ 5:52 pm

  16. Dear God put a note in the header about tissues next time will you?!

    In all seriousness though, this was absolutely beautiful and made my heart ache in that really good way, just how it feels when you think about your babies growing up and it’s that bittersweet pang of love and hope.

    Beautiful.

    Comment by Val — August 10, 2009 @ 7:23 pm

  17. Aww, this is so sweet!

    “Butterfly Kisses” was the song for the father-daughter dance at my wedding. I remember I spent about half of that song pestering my dad to tell me where he got the scotch I could smell on his breath, because we’d been forced to go alcohol-free by the draconian wedding hall, and what kind of daddy would not give his stressed-out princess a wee drop of Chivas on her wedding day, hmm? Turns out he was pouring Dixie Cups of it for guests out of the back of his pick-up truck in the parking lot. Viva la Kentucky!

    Comment by The Mother Tongue — August 10, 2009 @ 8:13 pm

  18. Oh. I choked up reading that, and I am not, for the most part, a choking up girl. My 5yo often says he wants to marry me and is forlorn that he can’t because Dadda already has. So very sweet, all too soon that fades. Cherish every second indeed.

    Comment by FeistyKel — August 10, 2009 @ 8:24 pm

  19. That last paragraph ruined me.

    Comment by maggie, dammit — August 10, 2009 @ 9:53 pm

  20. I wanted to marry my Dad too. And he did the same thing you did. And then I asked him to kiss me. And he gave me a sweet daddy kiss and I was all “no. I want you to kiss me like on mommy’s tv shows”. (a big soap opera fan she was). Luckily for Dad, Mom stepped in and distracted me with ice cream. Poor Dad….

    Comment by Mama Kat — August 10, 2009 @ 9:57 pm

  21. That warmed my heart.

    I recently had a discussion with my five year old daughter, who decided that she wanted to marry her best girlfriend, Cally. Not wanting to get into the whole Prop 8 controversy with her… I just told her that if she wanted to marry a girl someday, that was just fine – but she might decide that she wants to marry a boy someday, and that’s fine too. So she decided that if she marries a girl, it will be Cally; and if she marries a boy, it will be Thomas – a little boy from her preschool. Cute.

    Comment by Kari — August 11, 2009 @ 8:41 am

  22. So sweet! I remember receiving the crushing news at age 4, that I could not marry my favorite cousin. I also had to deal that crushing blow to my nephew, age 5 who said he wanted to marry me (as he stared lovingly at my chest) and kiss me like they do in the movies.

    Comment by Annje — August 11, 2009 @ 8:08 pm

  23. You’re doing it right. When a little girl sees her daddy as a potential life partner, you’re setting her up for a great ideal. Too bad no guy will ever be good enough for her.

    Comment by Nancy from Fear and Parenting in Las Vegas — August 11, 2009 @ 11:08 pm

  24. WOW! Great post. They are only this young and innocent for so long. Its great to see how much you cherish it.

    Comment by above average joe — August 13, 2009 @ 6:43 am

  25. What a sweet post.

    And with a Daddy and a brother who love her so, she will have the best example of who she should look for… and not to settle for anything less.

    Comment by Karen MEG — August 15, 2009 @ 7:08 pm

  26. My Daddy and I danced to Butterfly Kisses at my wedding, too.

    But I never grew up wanting to marry him. *sigh* Swee’Pea is a lucky, lucky girl.

    Comment by Miss Britt — August 17, 2009 @ 3:44 pm

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