I hold the keys to my daughter's hearts...

I was thinking this morning of what I would say if someone asked me about each of my daughter's hearts...it would go something like this...

Kami - First, she is my eldest (10 yrs. old going on 20).  She likes to play, but she is much more interested in adult conversation.  Her eyes can't move laterally, so she jerks her head back and forth lightning quick to follow people's conversational volleying.  Her mouth hangs open as she soaks in stories.  She is the most tactile of the bunch, snuggling is her primary gift.  She loves physical touch.  It's nothing for her to just wrap herself around me as I'm talking to people at church, she just wants to feel the warmth of my body securing her little feminine heart.  She is athletic as all get out, built like a gymnast with muscular legs and arms and a torque that puts her in the category of Dash from the Incredibles.  She loves soccer, though she's taken some time off to enjoy dance.  This is her bread and butter, this coordinated movement of body and soul in perfect synchronized harmony.  I love watching her wed herself with a song incarnating the rhythms and lyrics into flesh and blood.  She has a sensitive heart and is growing increasingly sensitive each year to the psychological atmosphere of human beings around her.  She can tell if there is an invisible mood shift in the room and will typically ask, "Are you alright?"  And yet, there is a stubborn rebellion in her that makes her strong-willed and immovable.  She will need this to brave the cruel world she will be encountering in the future.  I pray that God divvies out the perfect emotional skill set she needs to meet the situations she will surely face in the coming years.  She loves to eat, she loves food, she loves cooking, she loves shopping for food, she just plain loves the whole world of food.  She loves different tastes and textures of food.  She loves the various food groups and the experimenting that happens when food groups are creatively mixed together.  She loves veggies, she loves meats, she loves fruit, she loves sweets...she loves almost all sustenance...period.  More than anything, she loves values.  She always is asking about moral issues and is making comments about why things are right or wrong.  She wants to talk about sexual purity, and modesty, and divorce/remarriage, popularity, materialism, distribution of wealth, poverty, church culture, relevance, prayer, heaven, television shows, what's appropriate and what's not...etc.  She thrives in this sort of banter.  I think she might go this direction in her future in some way, shape or form.  All in all, I love her heart to the point of a heart-attack.

Aly - This is my second born.  I know what it is to be a second born, so we have some stuff in common right off the bat.  She is my dainty princess, highly concerned with social etiquette and social justice.  Her heart is definitely the most tender of the bunch, set like a mouse trap with a hair trigger to snap at the smallest infraction or injustice or iniquity.  She can't keep secrets if they are even in the realm of "the appearance of evil".  She confesses all her sins (or potential sins) to Heidi each and every night so that she can go to bed with a clear conscience.  It's impossible for her to lie (at least in this season, I'm sure it will change) or to be a part of some questionable scheme that could injure someone else emotionally or otherwise.  She just can't keep things to herself...it would be the death of her.  She loves soccer as well and she has these long skinny legs that gives her a long distance speed....she can't get off the blocks like Kami, but she can keep up with her in a 200 yard dash.  But she wouldn't even say that athletics are her primary love.  If you asked her, she would say that she loves "art".  She can sit for hours and draw, color and design things.  Lately she's been on a kick to design the exterior architecture of houses.  She colors "inside the lines" better than anyone I know.  In fact, this is a great description of her life.  She has lines and she stays in them, pointing out the others that aren't staying in them or for some reason don't want to.  This doesn't make sense to her, "Why wouldn't you stay in the lines, follow the rules, or abide by established standards if you know what they are?"  I love this about her.  She loves to have individual attention and is always trying to figure out whether you want to be with her as much as she wants to be with you.  She has what I call a "crap detector" that will survey the body language and the non-verbals establishing whether or not you're paying attention or centering your affection according to her inner expectations.  She knows when you're not really "with" her.  She always asks things like, "Are you having fun, too?"  "Dad, do you like spending time with me?"  "Are you glad to be our dad?"  These are questions that beg for answers that calibrate her internal crap detector.  You can't pull a fast one on this chick.  She loves asking questions about Jesus.  She's very interested in spiritual things...unseen things.  I think of all the girls, she gets the spiritual dynamic of Christianity...the mystery, the invisible, the symbolic.  She doesn't need the hands-on as much, she is completely relaxed with the idea that the greater (realer) part of life is what you can't see or detect with your senses.  She is spiritually sensitive, I guess you could say.  She always has been.  I know that God has great things in store for her beautiful heart.  All in all, I love her heart to the point of a heart-attack.

Taylor - This is my little caboose, which is to say that the train stopped taking on any more cars after her arrival.  How could we?  Her entrance filled our hearts to overflowing.  She is joy personified.  Her smile just fills whatever room she enters and her zest for life is contagious.  She is the only one that likes to be tickled...I mean she will ask for it at night before bed.  We will be playing the game she affectionately calls "Rhymes" and I will throw out some word like "eye" and she will respond with words like "die, cry, hi, my" and then you will see her face change and she will say, "Mister Squizy", knowing full well that they doesn't rhyme whatsoever with "eye".  That's what I mean when I say she's asking for it.  I will bury by unshaven face into her neck while tickling her ribs like I'm playing a harp with my fingers.  She will laugh with a shot-gun giggle saying the whole time, "Daddy, you're handsome" which is the same as her saying, "Uncle".  It's her feeble attempt to get me to stop tickling her by buttering me up with some disingenuous affirmation.  But immediately when I stop, she does something else to get me to tickle her so that she can laugh hysterically once again.  She loves to laugh.  This is her trademark, her personal signature in our family.  She also has a supple heart as it relates to spiritual things.  She was talking just last week about heaven and how she can't wait to see Jesus and to ask him to take away her Molescum (a little rash she has).  She asked the question of whether she would be her age (5) in heaven if she went today, or if she would be changed into  and older version of herself.  I thought that was a bit abstract for a 5 yr. old.  She often will describe the pecking order of affection with me in our home.  She will say, "Dad, do you love Mommy more than us?"  To which I reply, "Oh, yes." She continues, "Dad, do you love Us more than your Mom and Dad?" I say without hesitation, "You better believe it."  She persists, "Dad, do you love your Mom and Dad more than our cousins?"  I keep playing the game, "That's right."  Then she brings the haymaker question, "Dad, do you love God more than Mom?"  I look them in the eye as squarely as I possibly can and say, "OH YES!  I love God more than anyone in the whole world."  She will smile and look at her sisters as if to say, "He's still got his head screwed on, guys!"  This game will keep going sometimes, "Dad, do you love us more than the church."  This is a big question to be answered in our household.  "Listen, I will always love you way more than I love the church, though I love the church deeply."  I love that she cares about this hierarchy of affection.  She loves to clean for her mom and often will do it without us asking.  I think she loves that she's the ONLY one who does this.  She points that out after she's completed the project.  All the sisters are trying to find out their unique contribution to the world and looking to set themselves apart from their siblings.  Taylor has a BFF named Emily and a host of other friends that she tools around with.  I can't wait to see how her little personality develops and how God will choose to use her to affect change in humanity. All in all, I love her heart to the point of a heart-attack.

Being a dad is one of life's highest privileges and certainly one of life's highest callings.  I don't always do it well, but I want to.  I want to be an "epic" dad for my kids.  I want to always have my finger on the pulse of their hearts.  I want to see the signals they are throwing out there along the way.  I want to pay attention to their cries for attention.  I want to adapt my affection to each season of their feminine pilgrimage, staying tuned into their morphing desires.  This is hard.  Very, very hard.  But I hold the keys to their little hearts, and in some ways, I always will even when another man comes in and says, "May I have this dance?"  I will look at him and say, "By all means, but don't plan on getting the keys to her heart, because I own those and you're not getting them."  I will father my daughters their whole lives...I repeat...I will father my daughters their whole lives.  Men will come and go, but their Father will be there through the thick and thin, hell or high water.  Because I hold the keys to their little hearts.  


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