She asked me if I could play this song. Actually, she told me I had to play it. I said I would play it if she sang it. She asked if I knew how to play it. I said I’d learn. I watched a video. Then another. I wrote the chord sequence on my hand. Twenty three minutes later I told her I was ready. We tried it once and had to stop when we started laughing and messed up the first chorus. This recording is our second try. No laughing, but big smiles.
She sings every song on the radio. She learns the lyrics the first time she hears a song. She’ll be singing along, and I’ll stop her and ask how it’s possible that she knows all the lyrics if this is the first time we’ve ever heard the song. She says, “It’s not the first time, c’mon, turn it up.” She won’t sing the swear words, though.
She came as a surprise and has not stopped surprising me since. She loves sweets and chocolate chip cookies and Roald Dahl books. She hates vegetables, the dentist and French. She sleeps late and stays up later. She cries when the animated movie dog dies, every time. She swims like a mermaid, runs like the wind, paints poems and bakes cookies for her friends, holds my hand on the way to school, dances and laughs and laughs and laughs and snuggles with me on the sofa and tells me jokes and laughs at mine and asks me to learn songs on the guitar so she can sing. She loves me like no one else. To kiss her goodmorning and goodnight is really the most, maybe only, meaningful thing in my life. It’s why I do the things I do. Why I am here. When she grows and goes and I can’t do these things anymore, I don’t know how I’ll survive. To be my daughter’s father is the reason I’m here.
There’s a recent movie that caught my attention, called “Flag Day” directed by and starring Sean Penn and his daughter, Dylan. A father daughter movie based on a true father daughter story.
The song in that trailer was written by Sean Penn’s friend, Eddie Vedder, who had also composed the soundtrack to Penn’s best movie “Into the Wild.” And it is sung by Eddie’s daughter, Olivia. A father daughter song about fathers and daughters.
It’s a beautiful bond between fathers and daughters. Sharing the strength of love and family with the vulnerability of the most basic human conceptual differences. From the very beginning, there is love and protection with the understanding of misunderstanding and helplessness. The knowledge that sooner, rather than later, someone will take my place and that’s OK. I’ll still be her father. And when I go, she will still be my daughter. That bond can’t be broken.
To all you fathers and daughters. Look at the stars, see how they shine for you, and all the things that you do….