“Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition, but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express.”
~~ Joseph Addison
And when she wraps her hand around my finger
Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about
~~ Martina McBride
Today is Father’s Day and it is a day to reflect on how grateful I am to have a daughter—especially my daughter, Jayli. I couldn’t be a father without her.
It would have been easy for circumstances to take me in a direction where, as a gay man, I would never have had a daughter. I fully realized that I was at least a Kinsey 5 at about nineteen. But through accident or fate or the design of the Universe, I met this wonderful lady named Kaththea at a World Con science fiction convention in Chicago. I lived in Skokie at the time, and am a big SF and F fan so why wouldn’t I go. She and I met in an elevator staring at the same man, who was wearing a teeny tiny costume, and we both noticed out of the corner or our eyes that we were both cruising him. He stepped off the elevator and we burst into laughter and by the next day we were close friends. We started visiting each other—she lived in Kansas City—and somehow became more than friends (which is why I say Kinsey 5 instead of 6). I moved to Kansas City and soon we had Jayli.
And she really is a miracle baby. Kaththea had several miscarriages with her husband—ex-husband—and figured she probably would never have a child (although she desperately wanted one). But my baby made it to birth.
I got to be there. I got to see her birth. I was the first—not counting doctor and nurse—to hold her. I pushed her tiny feet on the ink pad and paper. I placed her on her mother’s chest. And when she talked, “Daddy” was one of her very first words. I believe it was the second and I won’t tell you her first—her mother spoke like a truck driver at that time in her life and that word cured her of her cursing for years! LOL!
I loved that little baby. I loved raising her. Feeding and bathing and changing and seeing her crawl the first time and walk for the first time. I was there through the first illnesses and her going to school and so very, very much more.
And when it became clear that perhaps I was a Kinsey 5.75 and Kaththea and I just weren’t going to work out as life partners, it was Jayli that made it so hard for me to leave and begin a life on my own as a gay man.
Thank goodness the breakup wasn’t too bad. Kaththea and became friends again and one I loved until her passing a little over a year ago.
Thank goodness Jayli was always a part of my life. She was the reason I didn’t flee back to Chicago. I knew I just couldn’t be a summer-vacation-dad. First and foremost because I loved her too much and wanted her in my life. And second because I knew it wasn’t fair to her. She didn’t ask to be born. Why should she grow up without a dad? If not living with her, then at least close by?
I am so grateful I stayed in Kansas City. I am so grateful that she is in my life.
And while our relationship isn’t the one I would have picked—just as I said about my relationship with my husband—it is the relationship the Universe has give us and I am happy she is a part of my life.
We have had many good time, and together gotten through some tough ones. School things, growing up, a horrible breakup she had to go through that almost literally broke her, a horrible breakup I had to go through that almost broke me, her mother passing, her being deeply deceived by someone online and how that has turned around….
I am so proud of her. She, at thirty, is going back to school and when she is done will be able to enter the medical field doing everything from being that person you meet when you first go into the doctor’s office to the one who weighs you and takes your vitals and even draws your blood. And what a great time to be doing this! It’s a field that is about to explode. She will really be set for life.
I am grateful for every single day I have with her and it thrills me when she calls me and wants to have a “date” with me. Lunch, a movie, spending the day with me at Gay Pride, anything!. I love her with all my heart, soul and mind.
So today, on Father’s Day, I am grateful to be a father and I couldn’t do that without Jayli. Today I am grateful for my daughter.
I love you with all my heart Jayli!