A father’s love for his little girl. Nothing like it in the world.
In our driveway, when my two-year-old little Lovebug gets behind the wheel of a Ford F-150 and backs over me, rolls forward, and then backs over me again, crushing my guts to a chowder-like pulp—well, that’s too much for me to handle. Just too much cuteness!
Where’d she find a truck? How’d she learn to drive? No idea. Lovebug is a genius and everything she does is adorable. A delicious, full-of-surprises angel from heaven. I’m sure all fathers can relate.
Like when she takes her six-foot trident with strange maiming barbs on the end and jams it into my skull, puncturing bone and jiggling her weapon to scramble my brain—gosh do her giggles make me glow inside. And when she scrunches up her nose because she thinks it’s funny to see me squirm, oh doctor, does my soul smile wider than a rainbow.
Or when we go to the park and I push her on the swings—she calls them “swingy-dingies,” the little rhyme-smith—and she kicks her two-year-old Cabbage Patch Kid-like legs in the air because she’s having so much fun? How can she be real? Seriously, Lovebug is a living doll. My heart melts.
And then when we sit on a bench by the swings to have applesauce and I go to spray her hands with sanitizer, and all of a sudden I’m saying, “Lovebug, whoa! Where’d you find the crossbow?” And she laughs, takes aim like a grownup, and lets an arrow fly right at my chest? The pride I feel, the energy like lightning from the center of the universe going straight to my core—that’s the most powerful kind of love there is. It’s indescribable.
I give her cuddly nicknames, of course. What father doesn’t? Lovebug, Lovie-Dovie, Toughie. She has nicknames for me as well. There’s Da-Da, Daddy-Waddie, Mr. Fuckface, Fuckin’ Chunkbutt, and You Dumb Fuckin’ Tool. The creativity! Like I say, she’s a brilliant wordsmith, and she’s going to be the most famous person ever.
Get this: Last week I come home from physical therapy (stemming from a co-sleeping incident) and Lovie-Dovie is sitting in her foam kiddie chair chugging the bottle of Lallier Brut I’d been saving for my birthday three years ago. Not only that, but smeared all over her squishable, squeezable, cute-as-a-button cheeks, she’s got blobs of insanely expensive caviar—caviar I’ve never seen before in my life, yet somehow, what do you know, there are four empty tins with Russian lettering on the carpet.
When I jump on a Zoom call for work and my colleagues ask why I have wild animal claw marks up and down my face, I grin and nod. “My daughter.”
When I go to the market and bystanders have to help me stay up because I’m losing blood from a neck wound or wobbling because I’ve been whapped in the gonads with a throw pillow, I shrug it off and whisper an excuse they’ll understand: “My two-year-old daughter.”
Or when I stumble into urgent care with a broken back and the bloodshot eyes of a wacko, bald as a bat, no sleep for years, scabs and scars everywhere, gut bloated and limbs flabby from zero exercise, I smile and mutter to the triage nurse just before passing out: “Daddy’s little girl.”