Papa laugh with your princess so that she will find funny princes familiar
Papa respect your princess so that she will find respectful princes familiar
Papa love your princess so that she will find loving princes familiar
Papa cry for your princess so that she will find gentle princes familiar
I've said it on numerous occasions. I am spoiled way beyond what any girl rightly deserves in any life time. We've spent the day spoiling Hunky, as much as he'll allow us, with food and love and kisses (No gifts. He bought a new phone. He will not be receiving any other gifts. Spoil sport.). I've said it and repeated it to the point of nausea in some listeners: I have the very best husband any woman could ask for, bar none. He's an amazing man with an even more amazing heart and how he manages to love me with the whole of it, and love his girls with the whole of it and then give so much of it away to everyone else he encounters on a day to day basis is truly a miracle of five loaves and two fish proportions. I have also been known to say that I'm not even sure how I got this blessed, except that isn't quite true.
You see, my the first man who held my heart was my Daddy. I have vague shadow memories of a house on 182 Brenda Court, and me laying on the floor with my Daddy talking to him about how I would marry him when I got older ( I also remember planning to make mom live in the backyard in a shed, I think, and there were house cleaning arrangements for her. I didn't say I was an angelic child. ) He was my hero, and I was his princess, and somehow, some miraculous gift was given to me and that never changed.
I could paint everything with rose colored hues about a perfect man and a perfect life with perfect children and perfect happiness, but that wouldn't be a true picture. Sometimes, my life growing up was hard and confusing though most often I remember it with great joy and fondness. As I got older, I grew to realize that my Daddy wasn't a perfect man. In fact, I have in my possession now a series of letters we wrote back and forth during my freshman year in college. I lived on campus, and he was in prison. Some heroes are a work in progress and that's okay too, because I don't think there ever was a time that I didn't believe in the man my father could be, was created to be. I know for a fact there wasn't ever a time that he didn't believe fully that I was the most amazing, talented, marvelous, brilliant spectacular person he'd ever encountered. That gift? There is no price tag that can be put on that gift. That gift grows a strong confident woman who never stops believing that somewhere, underneath it all, she really is a princess. Every princess needs a hero, and she does eventually outgrow her desire to marry her Daddy some day; which, no doubt, breaks a Daddy's heart nigh in twain.
Enter the Hunky.
I won't say that my entire dating history was filled with stellar specimens of impeccable charm and potential, but Hunky was something else entirely. He wasn't perfect then, and he'll be very quick to tell you he isn't perfect now, but I grew up equipped to handle the imperfect hero. From the moment we met, there hasn't been a moment that I haven't felt beautiful, adored, cherished, protected, amazing and marvelous and that being a chord resounding strongly in me already, a familiar chord, was something I knew to hang on to. It was worth fighting tooth and nail and the hounds of hell to keep it, and over the last seventeen years I do believe we have fought them. Scripture tells us that "love covers over a multitude of sins." This I know to be true, because I am fraught with sin and selfishness, but you would never know it from the way he treats me every day.
Which brings me to this hope: if you ask my children what I tell them to look for in a husband, they will tell you that they need to look for a man who loves them like their Daddy. I may learn things slowly sometimes, but if I impart only one other lesson other than the need of a Savior I want it to be that Princes are flawed and imperfect underneath their armor. They are sometimes frustrating; sometimes heartbreaking; sometimes fragile as glass, but when you find one with the heart of Christ Himself beating in his chest, you hang on. You hang on and you tell that prince that he is the most incredible, brave, wonderful, breath taking man you ever met because God's not through with him yet, and God's men, His heroes, well...those are the men that change the world. One heart at a time.