Her hair was up in a pony tail,
Her favorite dress tied with a bow.
Today was Daddy's Day at school,
And she couldn't wait to go.
But her mommy tried to tell her,
That she probably should stay home.
Why the kids might not understand,
If she went to school alone.
But she was not afraid;
She knew just what to say.
What to tell her classmates
Of why he wasn't there today.
But still her mother worried,
For her to face this day alone.
And that was why once again,
She tried to keep her daughter home.
But the little girl went to school
Eager to tell them all.
About a dad she never sees
A dad who never calls.
There were daddies along the wall in back,
For everyone to meet.
Children squirming impatiently,
Anxious in their seats
One by one the teacher called
A student from the class.
To introduce their daddy,
As seconds slowly passed.
At last the teacher called her name,
Every child turned to stare.
Each of them was searching,
A man who wasn't there.
'Where's her daddy at?'
She heard a boy call out.
'She probably doesn't have one,'
Another student dared to shout.
And from somewhere near the back,
She heard a daddy say,
'Looks like another deadbeat dad,
Too busy to waste his day.'
The words did not offend her,
As she smiled up at her Mom.
And looked back at her teacher,
Who told her to go on.
And with hands behind her back,
Slowly she began to speak.
And out from the mouth of a child,
Came words incredibly unique.
'My Daddy couldn't be here,
Because he lives so far away.
But I know he wishes he could be,
Since this is such a special day.
And though you cannot meet him,
I wanted you to know.
All about my daddy,
And how much he loves me so.
He loved to tell me stories
He taught me to ride my bike.
He surprised me with pink roses,
And taught me to fly a kite.
We used to share fudge sundaes,
And ice cream in a cone.
And though you cannot see him.
I'm not standing here alone.
'Cause my daddy's al ways with me,
Even though we are apart
I know because he told me,
He'll forever be in my heart'
With that, her little hand reached up,
And lay across her chest.
Feeling her own heartbeat,
Beneath her favorite dress.
And from somewhere here in the crowd of dads,
Her mother stood in tears.
Proudly watching her daughter,
Who was wise beyond her years.
For she stood up for the love
Of a man not in her life.
Doing what was best for her,
Doing what was right.
And when she dropped her hand back down,
Staring straight into the crowd.
She finished with a voice so soft,
But its message clear and loud.
'I love my daddy very much,
he's my shining star.
And if he could, he'd be here,
But heaven's just too far.
You see he is a British soldier
And died just this past year
When a roadside bomb hit his convoy
And taught Britons to fear.
But sometimes when I close my eyes,
it's like he never went away.'
And then she closed her eyes,
And saw him there that day.
And to her mothers amazement,
She witnessed with surprise.
A room full of daddies and children,
All starting to close their eyes.
Who knows what they saw before them,
Who knows what they felt inside.
Perhaps for merely a second,
They saw him at her side.
'I know you're with me Daddy,'
To the silence she called out.
And what happened next made believers,
Of those once filled with doubt.
Not one in that room could explain it,
For each of their eyes had been closed.
But there on the desk beside her,
Was a fragrant long-stemmed rose.
And a child was blessed, if only for a moment,
By the love of her shining star.
And given the gift of believing,
That heaven is never too far.
With thanks to Redtail - it's helped me start something I've turning over in my head the last couple of weeks.
A couple of weeks back I got a letter of solicitation from Legacy. I mentioned them back in July and am always happy to give them a shout out.
At this time of the year, we do tend to spend a bit more time on our military than is usual at any other time apart from Anzac Day, and the older I get, the more I appreciate what my father sacrificed.
No, he didn't sacrifice his life, nor does every other soldier, sailor or airman, but there are still sacrifices made that never seem to be acknowledged.
The time spent away from families during training can be hard for all members, then there is a lot of moving from post to post, often from one end of the country to another. I know a former Navy lad from Queensland whose first posting was to Melbourne, for example.
For a youngster with a closeknit family who had never lived away from home it was a big shock to the system.
That's only one example, and there are gazillions of others - every soldier and their family are different, after all.
When it comes to overseas postings in war zones, the difficulties are magnified.
The poem above was sent to us from Redtail, as she found it moving and a timely reminder of the sacrifices that many people make when soldiers deploy.
There are children, husbands and wives who also live with the outcomes of a deployment.
There is a very real risk of death in a warzone, and anything that helps a man or woman bear with that is worthwhile.
It may be only a few things added to the shopping list each week, or fortnight, or month, but we all know how it feels when we learn that someone has thought of us.
For myself, I like to know that my small contributions have helped lighten someone's load.
I hope the whoopie cushions I send over every now and then make someone laugh as much as we laugh here with them!