Thursday, November 29, 2007

“Daddy, do you think I’m pretty?”

I needed to know so badly. I needed to hear someone say it. I was yearning for acceptance and love. I hated me and it was so hard to do the things I needed to do for my little girl. I was 16 and my world was more lost that it had ever been. I needed the affirmation a young girl can only seem to hear from a man.

A year and a half into my first marriage, on a Sunday morning, me and the baby went to church. He had hit me the day before. The only place that really hurt was where he had hit me a couple of times in my face. It didn't look too bad, just some scratching and some light bruising on one cheek.

I had dressed the baby all up in her little pink dress and tights and her black patent leather shoes. She couldn’t even sit up yet but she was wearing shoes, lol. I don’t remember what I wore. I had gained weight during the pregnancy and had not lost it, so I didn’t have too much I could wear.

The weight I had gained, for my height, wasn’t bad at all. I know that now. My former husband would probably even admit that now. But, 30 years ago it was a very bad thing. He was so angry at me.

He was always so mad. I never knew what I might say that would make him hit me. I never knew when he looked at me if something I was wearing or the look on my face or even the way my hair fell might set him off.

It was mostly the weight though. When I would walk through the room, he would make the “Moo” sounds like a cow, or “Oink, Oink” like a pig. I was so ugly and I was so sorry I had let that happen because it made him so unhappy.

That Sunday morning, after the sermon, I went to the nursery and got my baby girl. I went back out into the sanctuary with her where I knew my daddy would be. He always hung around speaking to everyone, still does actually. He is definitely the social butterfly, unlike his youngest daughter.

When he finished up talking to everyone, I walked over to him. He smiled that huge smile of his and kissed the baby, told me hey and he was glad to see me in church. All of a sudden he seemed so familiar. I could tell you right now what he smelled like. I could draw every line I saw in his face that day.

I needed him so badly. I had to ask him. I knew he would lie, but I told myself he wouldn’t and that in his eyes he would be telling the truth.

I looked up at him and said, “Daddy?” He put his hand on my shoulder. That alone melted my heart. There was no touching or hugging in my house growing up. That just was not done in my family.

“Daddy, do you think I’m pretty?”

If I wouldn’t feel so utterly foolish to be 47 and still be so needy, I would call him up and ask him right now, “Daddy, do you think I’m pretty?”

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