Chosen affection and father/daughter connection...
My six year old, Taylor, called me on the phone yesterday afternoon out of the blue. I was in the middle of tearing down the stage to get ready for a rehearsal when my cell phone rang and I could tell from the caller id that it was a call from home. I answered the phone fully expecting to hear the soft and sensual voice of my wife (pipe dream) only to be surprised by the nasally tone of my youngest.
"Hi Daddy" she said with a sheepish intonation.
"Hi Tager" I replied with a voice of half-surprise.
There was a pause for several seconds as I waited for her to relay a message for her mother. This is what typically follows a random call from one of my girls. Many times they serve as the last line of offense/defense used by my wife to get my attention and alert me to a scheduled reality that I must abide by. Based on the length of the pause, I wondered what the purpose of the call was.
"How are you doing, Tay?"
"That's good. Have you had a dandy day?"
Again, I was waiting for the punch line. The real purpose behind the call. I paused long enough to give her a chance to "get to the point". All I could hear was her heavy breathing on the other end of the line.
"Tay, is there something you need to tell me?"
"What?" she replied.
"I mean is there are reason you called me?"
She stuttered and stammered for a couple seconds weighing her words so that she could respond to my inquisition.
"No." she said matter-of-factly.
"There is no reason you called me?" I said quite bemused.
"No, I just wanted to talk to you."
My first thought was this: "Does your mother know you're on the phone right now?" My second thought was this: "This is a sacred moment."
Sacred in that it represented the first time that Taylor strayed from the path of preconditioned, preconceived protocol and struck camp. The first time she deviated from what she was "supposed to do" into the world of what she "wanted to do". This is an epic inter-relational shift in a child's life.
I can't tell you how powerful the chosen affection of my child was to me yesterday afternoon as I stood there probing for an ulterior motive. The longer I talked with her, the more and more apparent it was that she called me so that she could hear my voice, share about her day and connect with her father. That's all. She didn't ask me anything or ask anything of me. She just wanted to talk--to connect.
I think this is the dream of any father--to have your child just want to talk to you. Not to be asking for something or relaying a message or punching in like a union worker on a time clock. There is a beauty in chosen affection. A free will offering.
And I felt it...did I ever feel it.