Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Daddy's Girl

Last night, I was on one of my many hunts for food. Finding a Rice Krispies Treat that my five-year-old daughter received at school that day, I began to open it. Trying to justify my actions, I reasoned that she was in bed already and hadn’t even mentioned a word about the treat the entire afternoon and evening. I was craving something and this sugary treat seemed like it might fill the void. Besides, I reasoned, she rarely remembers what food we have in the house, anyway. So, I ate the treat.

To my dismay, that treat was exactly what she was hoping for this morning. “Mom, do you know that someone gave me one of those treats that we brought to Carrie’s house?” A special memory of making these treats together as mother and daughter and bringing them to our cousin’s house is now overshadowed by my addiction to food.

Guilt and shame overwhelmed me. How could I have been so insensitive? Attempting to shake the thought that I actually stole from my daughter is futile. My mind races as I try to determine a way to fix the problem. I’m considering going out and buying her the prewrapped treats that I’ve never once bought for our family prior to this moment. Embarrassed, I can’t bring myself to explain to my daughter that I ate her treat from school. “Maybe after school, ok? Not now.” Besides, I rationalize, that wouldn’t be a very healthy breakfast.

We decide on a bagel for breakfast instead. Slathering cream cheese onto a cinnamon raisin bagel for her to eat, my mind is still trying to justify the choice I made last night. Thoughts quickly shift to how I always seem to be disappointing our little girl.

This morning began with her bouncing out of bed at 6:00 a.m. All I was hoping for was a little time to myself before I had to take on the role of Mommy. Yesterday she didn’t wake up until after Daddy was already off to work and she wanted to be certain today wasn’t a replica of that disappointment. Saying goodbye to Daddy before he leaves for work is obviously one of the highlights of her day. I made my disapproval very clear about her early rising from the very moment I saw her. When he came downstairs, he greeted us both with a kiss and in an attempt to support me, began to impress upon her the importance of getting her sleep. She ended up in tears and I with a guilty conscience.

Guilt. Depression. Sadness. These are all feelings consuming me this morning before the majority of humans even begin their day.

It really doesn’t help matters that the love this little girl has for her Daddy completely obscures any love she might have for her Mommy. Not to mention that I am continually reminded that Saturdays and Sundays are her favorite days because Daddy is home with her all day.

I write myself a note to buy Rice Krispies Treats at the store before I pick my daughter up from school. Attempting to cover my guilt with buying these store-bought treats will likely result in more unwanted pounds for myself. However, this seems to be the best solution to today’s dilemma.

This problem is obviously bigger than my craving for a sweet treat or my disappointment from being second-rate. I need to find my fulfillment in a place other than food or my daughter’s love and approval of me. Filling the void with food simply causes lower self-esteem as the pounds add up. And it is really a losing battle when it comes to winning a little girl’s heart if the competition is against her Daddy. I’m not too old that I can’t recall the joy involved in being Daddy’s little girl.

A couple of hours have passed and I realize a lesson can be learned from my little girl. As she bounces out of bed to greet her Daddy as the highlight of her morning, I can and should start the day with my Heavenly Father.

Is there any better way to start a girl’s day? There is still a father that wants my heart completely. And, He is the only one that can satisfy my cravings.

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