From Chicken Soup for the Father & Daughter Soul

She Calls Me Daddy

Pretty much all the honest truth telling in the world today is done by children.

Oliver Wendell Holmes

Wendy and I had just started dating, and we were beginning to think that this could be “it.” I was hesitant at first because Wendy had a daughter from a previous marriage, and I didn’t know if I possessed the ability to love two people at the same time.

Shaina was two years old when Wendy and I first met, and her father had just been stabbed to death on a bus in San Francisco. I had been single for thirty-two years and was a bit frightened about my lack of ability to be a good father to this beautiful child whose father had just been taken from her.

The relationship between Wendy and I continued to deepen, and we set the wedding date. Even then I was still a bit frightened.

I was the youngest in my family by five years, and had never been around children, especially girls! The idea of becoming a husband and a dad on the same day had my heart conflicted between joy and excitement and fear and trepidation.

Wendy and I started spending even more time together and going to church. We noticed that Shaina was getting more comfortable with me in a paternal way. Wendy wanted to make sure that I would not feel unnecessary pressure, so she explained to Shaina that she should call me Johnny until the wedding, and then she could call me Daddy.

So, as the wedding day approached, I thought of ways to make Shaina feel a part. I had asked Wendy’s father for permission to marry his daughter, so I thought it would be cute to ask for Shaina’s permission to marry her mommy.

“No,” Shania said.

Startled, I smiled and said, “Please?” But she was set on her answer.


My heart dropped, and all my fears and insecurities stuck in my throat, choking my words. I couldn’t catch my breath. Wendy and I glanced at each other completely stunned and wondered together, “Oh my, now what?”

I finally spoke, “Why not?”

With a shy smile and a little embarrassment, she replied, “Because I want to marry you.”

John Cox

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