That’s me on the left…all blurry because I “never sat still” according to my mom.

As my mom shared with me the ONLY photo that exists with us as a family (they left Romania for the U.S. shortly after this was taken), I can’t help but feel a little…melancholic(?). It is quite ironic that I’m in my father’s arms. I can’t quite identify what I feel. The reason for reminiscing of these “good” times is, as it is known already, the fast approach of Father’s Day.

I remember that every time my father would call, I’d ask when they’re coming back. Sometimes with tears, sometimes just because it became a habit to ask. The answer was always “next summer” or “next fall” or “next year.” And when that “next” came but they didn’t, disappointment would set in for a while. Then again hope would grow because of another “next” announced. Yet it came with more disappointment. Until about the age of 15 when my father did actually come to visit. After so many years of the promise of returning being broken over and over, I was resentful, to say the least. But still hopeful for restoration. Hopeful that he has come to make everything new and heal. No more broken promises; this time, he will actually come and love me as his daughter. I remember my sister, Irina, and I woke up and were sitting in our bed along with a friend who had spent the night. My father walks in smiling. Then after a moment he looks at our friend and says: “Irina, is that you?”

Common mistake. It can happen, right? I mean…after 14 years of being away, I’m sure it’s hard to recognize the young lady who is no longer the baby you left behind. But the disappointment this brought to us was beyond compare at that point. Our own father did not recognize us. We are his flesh and blood. How does this happen?

Naturally (or not so much), other events followed that broke the relationship further. The details around these events that “shaped” who I am may be content to some book one day (maybe) but when you grow up without a father (or with a bad one), your view of men is distorted, there’s no news there. What do you do? You’re not broken altogether but you’re not whole either. Some girls become needy and desperate, some fake an unearthly strength while building walls upon walls. But neither is healthy, neither brings healing. Let’s be honest; nothing brings healing. The choices we make in the desperate seek of restoration are either cheap bandaids or salt on the wounds. Restoration is all we want, we want what was broken to be returned to us in its original condition. Which will never happen since, you know, you can’t go back in time, people never change and miracles are for those who need it more than us, it seems. And so there’s no escape.

Would I have had a real father in this world, I know I would’ve been what they call a daddy’s girl. For years I yearned for this title. I struggled with forgiving and forgetting; and I am still not sure if I’m there yet. But after all the rant, this is not about whining (not this time at least), this is not about the brokenness of things. Truth is I don’t have a solution for the brokenness. I guess we just learn to live with the scars.

What I am thankful for is the faith that God is coming back. This I believe is certain: there will be a day when all will be restored (Revelation 22). So I am not where I used to be due to this hope; I climbed out of that rut, I am a step closer to that day of total restoration. My heavenly Father is coming to take me home. I now look back at those years of hopeless waiting and am thankful for exercising wait. I am used to waiting for someone’s return; I waited for 14 (and 18 years) for the return of my parents. And even though their return finally just brought more disappointment, I know that this time there won’t be any. When my heavenly Father comes, there will be restoration and healing, hope and true love. When my Father comes back, He WILL recognize me and call me by my name. I know He will call me Daddy’s Girl.

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