This week Margie finally surpassed me in height. My husband had lined us up against the doorjamb and made a pencil mark for each of us. It's just a half inch or so, but now, at 14, even the baby of the family is happily taller than Mom.
Watching our children grow, I've often marveled that God seemed to have squished my DNA together with Tom's, like play-doh, and shaped a son that looks just like his dad, but has his mother's heart.
The reverse is true for Margie, she resembles me, but has much of her father's temperament and good nature.
I have been blessed with a good-guy husband. He is strong, honest, hardworking and he loves me, even on my bad days.
Most importantly, he is a great father to our two daughters and our son. With the girls in particular, I watch his tenderness and wish I had the benefit of that kind of relationship with my own father.
I'm convinced it is our relationship with our earthly father which provides the framework for our relationship with the heavenly one.
As I grew up in faith, I really struggled, still struggle, with my perceptions of Him. To me, God seemed authoritarian, heavy-handed, distant.
Last year on Father's Day our pastor posed the question, "Did your father ever bless you?" Tears arrived as I realized he had not, and I understood for the first time how much I had needed that blessing from him over the years.
My husband's relationship with our children is very different than I grew up with. I see Margie snuggle up next to her daddy in perfect comfort. She gives him kisses, and her favorite place to lay her head is on his shoulder. She tells him her secrets, watches him shave and trails him no matter the chore or errand.
She knows she is perfect in his eyes, so much so, that it would seem silly to even contemplate whether such a thing were true.
She walks through life full of confidence, complete in the knowledge that she is loved, without condition.
That's the kind of relationship I want with God. A "da-dee" with whom I can snuggle at the end of a long day, whose cheek I can smooch. I want to follow Him around, wherever He goes. Most of all, I want to walk around with that perfect confidence, knowing I am loved, inexplicably, irrationally, wildly.
I know these things, of course, intellectually. In my heart, however, lives that little girl who yearns for her father's love.
Tommy, I am thankful for you beyond measure. Thank you for loving me, thank you for being a loving father to our children. You've given them gifts they will carry with them throughout their lives, gifts they will pass along to their own sons and daughters.
Happy Father's Day. I love you.
Tracy Simmons is a features writer for the Times-Gazette. She may be reached at (931) 684-1200, ext. 217, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.