12: Knight in Shining Armor

12: Knight in Shining Armor

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Dad

Knight in Shining Armor

Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express.

~Joseph Addison

One of the sweetest things in life is stumbling upon precious moments in the everyday lives of everyday people and discovering everyday truths. A few years ago, I was dropping my boys off at the school bus stop on a cold winter morning. I noticed a lumberjack-looking man standing quietly with his hands dug deep into his pockets amongst a herd of wiry elementary-aged kids. These kids had this man completely surrounded. However, this burly-looking man had eyes for only one little girl — his daughter, a petite little princess in pigtails who had his eyes and who clung to his side.

This wasn’t the first time I had seen this particular dad at the bus stop. In fact, this guy was there every morning, rain or shine, to see his little girl off. The thing is, it’s not unusual to see suburban, stay-at-home moms standing at the bus stop with their kids. But to see a dad standing there . . . well, I guess you could say he stood out. And on this particular morning, I witnessed something that struck a chord inside of me, inspiring me to preserve it in ink.

When the yellow school bus arrived, the small circle of children swirled into a wild flurry of energy around him as they clumsily (and quite shrilly) climbed onto the bus. I watched as the burly dad, an unassuming man, blew kisses at his daughter while she managed to march her little legs up the large steps.

He watched her patiently as she made her way down the long, skinny aisle until she — his pretty little princess — finally settled into her seat somewhere in the middle of the bus. She didn’t spare a moment, pressing her pink nose up against the cold glass window, smiling at him confidently. From the sappy expression written all over his face, I was certain that this dad was smitten. She had him — this brawny man who stood out like a sore thumb in the middle of suburbia — tied hopelessly around her little finger. And, judging by her confident expression, she knew it.

This little girl’s dad took two gallant strides forward and with two gentle strokes, he drew a heart in the condensation that dampened her window. His little girl’s smile radiated the kind of certainty every little girl should have. And as the bus drove away, the two waved goodbye. I continued to watch as this dad stood with his hands dug deep in his pockets, sturdy as a knight, until the bus rounded the corner and drew out of sight.

This scene was affirmation to me of how significant the role of a dad is in the life of a little girl. He is the first man that she will ever love and the last man to determine how she will continue her pursuit of love. This particular little girl will know what it means to be loved by the man in her life. She will know what it is that she deserves, nothing short of butterfly kisses, heart shapes drawn and the infinite knowledge that he will be there to love and protect her, far beyond when she has rounded the corner from his sight.

So many little girls grow up in a sea of disappointment, never knowing that initial safekeeping and adoration from their dads, and they spend their entire lives on a futile search for it. Hats off to those dads who are brave enough to draw lasting impressions in the hearts of their daughters, and who stand solid as knights in their duty as daddy — giving truth, love and quiet confidence to the women who will always feel like Daddy’s little girl.

~Natalie June Reilly

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