I See You Daddy
By Lori D'Augostine
-- There's no place like home, and there's no place I would rather be this Sunday then watching a baseball game or shootin' the breeze with the man I refer to as "Daddy O."
For more than 20 years, I have stood in his shadow gazing up at his larger-than-life, sparkling ocean-blue eyes, and wondering, what dangers those eyes have seen.
My daddy is the man who loved to chauffer me to ballet classes oftentimes in a big, navy blue chevy. Funny how we turned many heads in that cop car. We were an unstoppable pair! Those flashing red lights could have gone off any second, and as much as he would like to have muted his radio to protect my ears from the latest domestic violence crime scene, we always carried on as usual.
"Now make sure you don't talk to strangers, and don't go anywhere by yourself," he would say as he tucked me into bed at night.
"Yes Daddy," was my obligatory reply. I knew the routine well.
Even though the questions seemed monotonous, I always knew that not even the boogie man could get through my daddy. I was being protected by one of New Jersey's finest officers on the force.
Life as a cop's kid sure did have its benefits. There were the annual police summer picnics with all-you-can-eat crabs and donuts, and around the clock games of horseshoes and baseball. Not to mention, the free what I called, "fingerpainting" sessions at his work. Boy, did I have a field day painting my face with that black, fingerprinting ink.
I can still remember those annual open houses at the police station, and touring every crevice of the building, including the dingy prison cells.
"Daddy, you actually make people live here?" I would ask.
A discreet nod, and downcast eyes, were all the evidence I needed to determine that this was definitely one of the most difficult parts of his job.
As I grew older, I wanted to know more and more about my daddy's other life. I wanted to know why he was so protective of me, and why he would spend so much time locking our windows and doors at night.
In sixth grade, some of those answers came. I was growing in popularity in my school, and met a girl named Carrie who was graced with exceptional beauty and intellience. Carrie was a JAP (Jewish American Princess), which made her prime friendship material. She was the kind of girl who would ask you what type of jeans (preferrably Guess) you were wearing just to make sure that you were "cool enough" to be her friend.
One day, she invited me over to her house, and I was ecstatic because not only was she going to take me on a tour of her horse farm, but we were even going to exchange best friend bracelets.
As my dad drove me to her house, I tried to imagine what Carrie's mansion of a house might look like. I was entrenched in my own fantasy, and hardly recognized the unusual, deafening silence piercing my father. Suddenly it was apparent that something was the matter.
I looked over to him, and saw something very rare in his eyes. His eyes were glossed over by an inexpressible sadness.
As my dad pulled the car over, he pointed out a specific location in the middle of the street. About 10 years prior, my father had mapped out the silhouette of a little girls body there. I'll never forget my father's expression, as he recounted what happened on this back, country road.
A little girl about my age was on her way to school. When the school bus came to pick her up, she crossed the road, and was suddenly sideswiped by a drunk driver. The girl was killed instantaeously, and my father was one of the first to arrive on the scene. He literally had to pry the girl's mother and father away from her disfigured body.
My dad described this as the most horrific scene he had ever encountered, and again, his eyes were piercing mine as he said something that I would never forget.
"I will do my best to make sure that nothing like this will ever happen to you."
As we pulled up to Carrie's house that day, her father came outside and gave my father a big hug. I then realized that it was Carrie's sister who had been killed.
Many years after this incident, and into my young adult years, my dad has continued to bless each and every one of our phone conversations with his closing remarks, "now don't go anywhere by yourself."
As of late, my responses to these statements have certainly lacked the compliance I had as a child. While in college, I was on a serious mission to do almost everything by myself, just to prove to my father that I no longer needed him, and could become a self-sufficent adult.
I had resolved that no matter how difficult the trial, whether it be financial or physical, I could get through anything without my parent's help. And, then came that day.
I was at home visiting my parents during Christmas break, and received the much dreaded phone call from my doctor that I should come to his office right away. My doctor made it very clear that I should not come alone. I immediately called my mom and dad, and of course they were both by my side.
We listened as the doctor informed us that I had a tumor on my salivary gland which would require immediate surgical intervention. I grew weaker by the moment as I learned that the surgery was very risky, and could even cause permanent facial paralysis.
My life flashed before my eyes that night, as my biopsy results were still uncertain. Yet, through it all, I knew that my only source of healing was in God, despite the doctor's report.
I also realized that I did not want to walk through this one by myself. I knew that my daddy was still there for me, and had never stopped being there for me.
When the results came back that my tumor was benign, I decided to go back to school, and complete my last semester of graduate studies. I knew that I still needed to have the surgery, yet, I also knew that God would lead me to the right doctor.
I'll never forget that day my dad said goodbye to me when it was time to go back to school. I looked into his eyes, and saw those ocean-blue eyes well up.
There was a familiarity in those tears, and it reminded me of that day when he told me about Carrie's sister. That was the day he promised me that he would never allow anything "bad" to happen to me.
We both knew that his badge could not protect me this time. He could not protect me from the dangers that lie ahead in having to go through this surgery. Yet, still there was something in me that felt very safe.
I was his little girl again. There was nothing I wanted more than to be under his protection. This prodigal daughter had come back home again, and all I could simply say was "I See You Daddy."
He looked rather perplexed at my statement, and so I repeated it again. "I see You Daddy."
It was as if God lifted up a magnifying glass, so that I could see my dad's heart . He has had such a strong sense of protection over me throughout my life, not just because it was his oath of his office to protect every civilian in our town, but because as my daddy, he has the special task of loving me. It's not just his role as a parent, it's his heart. This is a man who has put himself in harm's way to protect many, and how much more would he do the same for me?
So it is with God. We serve a God, who not loves only loves us, but protects us from danger. He is a God who has even greater power than our earthly fathers.
Psalm 59:16 says,
"I will sing about your strength, my God,
and I will celebrate
because of your love. You are my fortress, my place of protection in times of trouble." (NLT)
We serve a God who has the power to heal us of all our diseases (Psalm 103). For all those wondering, I was healed completely and supernaturally of that tumor, and along with that came a healing in my heart that has allowed me to see my daddy with new eyes. Happy Father's Day, "Daddy O!" I love you.
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