Wednesday, July 03, 2013

But You Love Me, Daddy

I was all of five years old when my Dad first sang that immortal classic, But you love me, Daddy, to me. We were walking home from school or church, I forget which, when just like that, he began to sing the song.

I didn’t hear Jim Reeves sing it in his deep baritone until many years later. And so for me, the song was Dad’s love song to me.

In my innocence and naiveté, I assumed Dad had written the words and composed the tune. Just for me.

Of course, even back then I was a trifle suspicious. For one, the first line, ‘Your five year old face is a dirty disgrace’ could never be true. Even if I managed to get it dirty, Mum would have scrubbed my face clean. Squeaky clean. She would never have allowed her kids to go around looking scruffy and untidy. So that was the first dead giveaway.

Secondly, I didn’t have any toys at all, except a cheap doll, hollow inside and made out of a single sheet of plastic, upon whose upper lip my older brother had drawn a moustache. And of course, I spoke to her (which little girl doesn’t?), but not loud enough to disturb anyone.

And then the evidence kept piling up.

I had never pulled my sister’s ponytail and made her wail. Why would I? I was the sister myself.

Nor had Dad ever debarred us from eating cookies.

But none of that mattered. What mattered was that I was five years old, the age mentioned in the song. What mattered was that the refrain of the song was perfectly and unmistakably true.

But you love me, Daddy.

One simple statement of protest that stated a simple truth.

In the face of that simple statement, all my imperfections didn’t matter. No matter how naughty or disobedient I was, my Daddy loved me.

That was the simple, immutable truth. The rest were just details.

Under the benign shade of that truth, I flourished.

The comfort of that relationship continued for years, even though I ceased to be five years old soon enough. It still continues, and in a world that has changed so drastically from the simple world of my childhood, the knowledge that that relationship thrives still brings comfort and fills me with joy and warmth.

Daddies and daughters, there will always be a special warmth in that relationship.

Recently as I was putting La Niña to bed, I suddenly recalled the strains of the song. Just like that. Unbeckoned. It came to me.

I smiled at the memory, and that was enough. It was as if the floodgates were released.

I sang the whole song and she, my little five-year-old daughter, listened with rapt attention, while beaming from ear to ear. As if her own Dadda were expressing his love for her through song.

When it was over, she requested an encore. And then another.

When the second encore was done, she said nothing. Her heart, it seemed, was too full for speech. She lay on the pillow, eyes closed, traces of the smile still on her lips. And then she opened her eyes again.

“Mamma,” she said. “Can Dadda sing this song?”

“I don’t think so, sweets,” I said. I wished I didn’t have to say it and break her little heart, but I had to. The Husband isn’t one to burst into song. It was better to let her know now than wait for her to ask him to sing it and suffer disappointment.

“Will you teach him the song then?” she asked. I nodded and smiled.

And Dadda’s little darling closed her eyes, delighting in the love of the man who had made her heart swell because he loved her, no matter what.

El Niño was already asleep. The house was quiet. The Husband was not yet back from work.

I took the opportunity to go back decades to the streets of my childhood and step in line with a five-year-old girl and her Daddy, as he sang his song of love to her. As I looked on, he finished his song, and she gambolled along.

Ah! The joy of knowing you are loved!

Thank you, Daddy.

And Jim, thank you too.

I am linking this entry to the Moonshine Grid, hosted at Yeah Write.


  1. Awwwww....What a lovely lovely post! daddies and daughters sure share a bond like no other and i can vouch for that!! u essentially gave ur daughter a piece of memory that she would treasure forever like u do now!

  2. Thank you so much. :) I wish I could get her father to sing it though. She knows he loves her of course, but nothing like getting it from the horse's mouth.
    So glad to know that you too share this warm, comforting bond with your father.

  3. Cynthia, that is sooo Beautiful.. WHat a cycle of Life coming back to Life via you.. Dads are so special na.. U believe they can do anything and everything.. Like I always thought all Superheroes must be daddies in Movies too.. They should Be, you know :P
    But you know what Cynthia.. U are a Superhero to your Daughter.. Keeping the blessed love inside..treasuring it from your dad to your daughter and also preserving the love she feels for her father aka your husband.. U are a complete lady..Beautiful In every way seen here.. Thank you for this post.. For making us a part of your life ^~^

  4. My My...! this is one adorable post i must say! one of the most special bonds - a father daughter relation - you have penned down so beautifully! lovely indeed :)

  5. This is so beautiful Cynthia. How we wish if only the men around us were more expressive, but I complain about that to my friend, he immediately retorts saying we women express enough for both the genders combined.

  6. Lovely. My daddy never sang to me, but he was the most supportive person in my life. He has been gone for for over 30 years, but I can still hear him whistling. Thank you for your story.

  7. That is so so so beautiful... I wish my daddy could sing too :) Nevertheless, i do have some very pleasant memories of my Dad from my childhood like you...priceless!

    God bless, Cynthia...I love whatever you write :)

  8. That was brilliantly beautiful. For me too Dad's always ths hero no matter what. I too wish her Dad would sing to your lil angel.

  9. such a lovely recital of daughter daddy love always a treat to read :) :) Cynthia I always tell u your writing always touches my heart....

  10. such a heart felt post.. I can tell you one thing.. whether dad's can sing or not they always have this special bond with their daughters :) :)... The only song my father sang was 'Jack and Jill went up the hill' :D :D

  11. This was such a lovely heart felt post. I loved it because my daddy sang his own songs too that I was amazed to discover when I got older that someone had actually professionally recorded!! Your post touched my heart...well done.


  12. How very sweet, Cynthia!! I hope Daddy can sing a few lines just to see that smile on her face!

  13. awww!! Sniff!
    such a lovely post!! I miss my daddy now.. :)
    And that song is beautiful :)

  14. Well, expressed, I get to know such feelings only through others writings, since I don't have a sister to tell me what she feels about Dad. But now I am able to relate it, for the past two years, from the very day I was married. A sweet relationship exists at home between a Daughter-in-law and her father-in-law. It seems both were longing for each other, my wife for a dad and my dad for a daughter...

  15. I absolutely loved this.. misty eyed now . Dads are simply wonderful. Honestly, there are just no words good enough to express how important they are , how wonderful.. and how much they mean..

    I am so grateful for an awesome daddy. :-)

    Ty Cynoo.. brought back many memories.


  16. My Dad does sing at times, in tune too! Just don't pay any attention to the lyrics though! :P He creates his own remix versions of songs... tune from 1 song, words from some other! :D
    UBC Day 3 - "Why Do I Write?"

  17. What a wonderful memory! Love that you are now singing that song to your 5yo.

  18. That was such a beautiful post...You know my father used to sing me a song too in my childhood and I fell asleep listening to that song on his belly ! Father's are like that....The special father daughter bound is exquisite....Loved your nostalgic post. Amazingly written :) Loads of love to you xx

  19. What a wonderful post Cynthia. it reminded me of my dad and how he used to pamper me. Loved how you intertwined the song with the memories. I hopped over from 'that tuesday thingy' and I am glad I did :)

  20. Such a sweet remembrance. Doesn't it happen often that when you read someone else's memory and it sparks some in your own head of the same subject. A dear subject of daddy :) Thanks Cynthia. I am in my own memories right now.

  21. Thank you, Stacie. I love singing the song to her and she loves it too. One more treasured memory for her, I hope.

  22. Thank you, Lala (shadowsofthedivine). We are all so fortunate to have had fathers who invested time in our lives.

  23. Thank you, Jas (goingbeyondthepages), Dads will always be special to their daughters. Thank you for sharing your comments with me.

  24. Hi, Poornima, that is the best part about memories. They help us realise that we are all so alike, and that the same beautiful experiences touch us all. I hope you enjoy your trip down memory lane.



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