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Children are our future, our legacy in which we shape with our words, actions, example and presence. It is not an easy job for any parent trying to do the best we can for them and there seems to be no one way or guide book to how we should do these things—if there were I could imagine it being only slightly easier to understand than a Ikea manual.
I had no father, at least biological. I did have a step-father for a few years growing up who did no wrong by me but my mother, being the lovely creature she was ran him off; with him my little sister; it was a smart move. So I grew up without a father and a very absent mother... but let's not create a negative vibe right now, cause that is far from what this is. Without this normal family structure of loving and attentive parents, I went awry in my childhood falling into many traps so many others have in similar situations but alas I knew I would have to break that cycle.
My youngest was born, a beautiful and intelligent daughter that seemed increasingly curious on the world and with that, curious of me. She is turning five this year and I couldn’t say I needed to be prouder, she is more grown up than many adults and has an imagination that fuels me but I began to be concerned of failing her because of my need to work...a lot.
My job sometimes requires me to be away for three or four days without coming home, and though she understands, it puts a toll on a child so young; I couldn’t even imagine how service men/women must feel. And knowing my daughter loved fairies and stories I began doing something to make my absence easier—I created a world for her mind to enjoy.
I started small, finding unique rocks around the motel and I would use highlighters and permanent markers to decorate them and make her “Fairy Stones.” Every weekend I would bring them, they varied so much that I had to become creative in my names but she believes the fairies bring them to me to show her, I even wrote a letter from the fairies and gave her a heart necklace that has BFF on it, rainbow cord. I told her the BFF stood for “Best Fairy Friend” and she loves these items.
This grew into quickly made up stories about a world which they lived, I even created a map and gave it to her. It inspires her and the stories teach her life lessons that she seems to soak in. We have also began making a fairy house, for a fairy garden in which once complete, will have small things moved often to show previous activity. Most important though is our time together and this is something between her and I, all ours.
In doing all this, I realized I was story building, deeply in fact. My stories have expanded, involving other Fae, some fairies have wings, some do not, some live in the Enchanted wood, others in cities, some are not so kind. There are humans, and accidentally I had involved my in the works novels races, not all of them but a few as well as the myths and legends. Almost as though I introduced her to a child friendly version of my ultra-violent universe where the main character was once known as “The Butcher.” I am yet unsure if this was wise or not—but they are separated by one thing, my daughter.
I may not always be physically around, I may not always be alert when I am home due to being tired, but I am a father that loves and adores his child and will find anyway possible to share a bond beyond superficial connections. I am happy that my creative nature has rubbed off on her and even more so that it has given us such a powerful connection to share.
Now she has been inspired to learn how the fairies do things, like fish, build homes, make fires which in turn has inspired me to relearn my old unused wilderness survival knowledge, and study local wild edibles for us to bond even further. She has helped build a special piece of my soul, its the least I can do to give her happy and fulling memories of a father who not only loves her but does so with substance.
My point at the end of the day is this, no matter how busy you are, find a moment, a bond or any connection that reminds your child that you are forever theirs; love them anyway you can even if not always present.