Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Better Daughter

My dad turned 75 this past Sunday. Something about his birthday and recent circumstances have me reflecting on my role as a daughter. Being a daughter was the first role I ever had. Since then, I've become a sister, friend, wife, aunt, and mother. But daughter...that's where it all started.

I have not always been a "good" daughter. In fact, I'd say I spent a large percentage of the first 27 years of my life not being a good daughter. I broke curfew. I didn't listen to my parents. When I lived away from home, I didn't call when I said I would. In fact, there was one weekend in college where I partied the whole time and ignored an answering machine full of messages from my parents. I did not value the time I spent with my parents.

Then my dad got sick. Suddenly, all the time I thought I had to be a good daughter was slipping away.  I realized how lucky I was that I could see my parents whenever I wanted. That they were
 there to say "Hello, I love you." I found myself wanting to find things that would make them happy.  I realized that being present and engaged with them was what mattered most.

I know that our time is not forever. But at least I have it.


  1. I teared up while reading this. I'm not going to go with the cliche "love them while you have them" comment, but this post really hit a soft spot with me. I lost my dad almost 4 years ago and there isn't a week that goes by that I don't feel like I could have been a better daughter, that I could have been more intentional or paid more attention, visited more, not have been so selfish. I've grown a lot in the four years since I lost him and I often wonder if he was still here how I would do things differently. Not because I have regrets, but just because I understand and realize so much more now than I did then. Seeing our parents age or become ill never gets easier, but being fully present and focusing on our relationships with them can bring so much joy - both to them and you. Love you, N!

  2. Absolutely cried reading this! With any of our roles in life, we just don't have a guarantee that we can do better later or pay more attention later. SUCH a good reminder.

  3. I too have not always been the "good" daughter. That is why I want to spend every moment that I can with my sweet, elderly mama!

  4. As you know, we lost scott's mom a few years ago, and that was really the kick in the pants I needed to treasure every minute. I hope your Dad had a great birthday!