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Home / Articles / Columnists / Chicken Soup for the Soul /  Daddy’s Girl ... At Long Last
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Thursday, February 2,2012

Daddy’s Girl ... At Long Last

By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Kimberly Kirberger  
Have you ever felt like nobody? Just a tiny speck of air. When everyone’s around you, And you are just not there.

Karen Crawford, age 9

Daddy wanted a boy.

He was so disappointed when I was born. And when Momma found out she couldn’t have any more children, Daddy was devastated.

He never tried to hide his disappointment from me. He was brutally honest. I guess I understood his feelings, living on a small farm in Iowa. He hoped a boy would help him with the farm and eventually step into his shoes. But a girl … I tried to do everything just to please Daddy. I could shimmy up a tree in the blink of an eye, throw a ball farther than any boy my age and look the town bully straight in the eye.

But still Daddy didn’t seem to notice. I would bring home straight As from school and other achievement awards. He was unmoved by that as well.

I was determined to win his love and admiration, no matter what.

I worked twice as hard doing my chores by getting up extra early in the morning. I milked our cows and gathered the eggs from

our hens. Then I went to school.

Still Daddy seemed so unappreciative. Momma always tried to ease some of the frustration and hurt. “He’ll come around one day,” she’d say.

The year I turned thirteen was the one hundredth anniversary of the founding of our town. The town council decided to hold a parade, and they wanted a young lady to sit on a float and lead the parade. The families in the area were asked to send pictures of their children. Every parent in the area hoped that their daughter would be selected. Every parent except Daddy.

Momma sent in a picture of me.

I was always so busy being the boy Daddy always wanted that I had never considered trying for the honor of leading the parade. I had no idea that Momma sent in a picture of me, so it was quite a surprise when the selection committee stopped by one evening to tell us I’d been chosen. Momma was thrilled. As I expected, Daddy showed no interest in the matter.

The day of the big parade finally arrived. I was dressed in a beautiful white dress. At first I felt awkward hardly ever more dresses. But soon I felt like a princess in a fairy tale.

As the parade passed down the main street of our town, I saw Momma and Daddy standing on the side. Momma was waving an American flag. But Daddy. . . well, he was just something else! There he stood, smiling like I’d never seen him smile before! As I passed him, I thought I saw tears in his eyes. At that moment, I knew I had finally gained his admiration — not as a replacement for the boy he’d always wanted, but as the young lady I really was.

Candace Goldapper


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Also from Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Kimberly Kirberger: