From Chicken Soup for the Country Soul

Daddy’s Little Girl

Sometimes I would rather have people take away years of my life than take away a moment.

Pearl Bailey

When I heard the song “Daddy’s Little Girl,” every line in the lyrics related to me. Daddy was a very big influence in my life. Besides teaching me a good work ethic, he also influenced me musically—he taught me how to play the guitar. In spite of our closeness throughout my childhood and in our relationship today, Daddy never really showed a lot of physical affection towards me. As a former Marine, showing emotion and hugging was never something that came easy to him. He always demonstrated his love by working hard, giving me encouragement to be a good person and providing for me.

All that changed the night of June 12, 1997. I was scheduled to do a Father’s Day show on TNN’s Prime -time Country, and the producers wanted my father to be with me as part of the program. They had asked me to sing my song, “Daddy’s Little Girl,” and then do the normal interview portion with Gary Chapman and my dad. The interview segment was going to be a piece of cake, I thought, because I love to talk! However, the performance portion was creating real anxiety for me—not only because it would be my first time singing the song in front of my father, but sixteen years had passed since the last time he and I had hugged or said, “I love you.”

So the big moment finally arrived. With just thirty seconds until I had to perform, I stepped from behind the curtain and onto the stage. There, in the front row of the auditorium, sat my dad.

As the piano introduction started, I could tell Daddy was fighting back the tears. I felt the professional thing to do was be tough and try to rise above the emotion I was feeling, but there was no way! The more I sang, the more sensitive I became. Overwhelmed, I heard my voice start cracking while uncontrollable sobs accompanied each line. As I got ready to sing the last verse, I saw that Daddy had tears streaming down his face. I just lost it! I walked into the audience to share Daddy’s embrace as I sang through the ending of the song.

All those years without an “I love you” or a hug were all redeemed for us that night right there on national TV as millions of viewers shared that priceless moment.

Kippi Brannon

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