Friday, June 18, 2010

My Life With Comic Books: Part # 114

The current cast of characters:
Paul Howley: age 42
Mal Howley: my wife
Adam Howley: my son, age 17
Cassy Howley: my daughter, age 12


As a father, my relationship with my son is very different than my relationship with my daughter. As Adam got older I eagerly anticipated his maturing to adulthood and was excited about all of the possibilities that awaited him, as he would begin his independent life. Adam was very confident, a leader (rather than a follower) and was always comfortable with “who he was.” He had endless possibilities and was actually becoming an adult. I was not, however, eager for my daughter to grow up.

Cassy was fun to be with. She loved her Mom and Dad and still enjoyed being with us. We played card games, board games, and still wrestled together. Cassy was at an age when she still believed that her Mom and Dad actually knew what we were doing and that we were infallible. (Of course, we weren’t, but young kids frequently believe this.) There was no question; Cassy was my little “Princess.”

One day, as I was driving Cassy to school, I happened to be changing the channels on the car radio and ended up listening to the ultra-cheesy song titled “Butterfly Kisses” by Bob Carlisle. I had not heard this song before and I was surprised by how closely this song paralleled our life with Cassy. When I was a young child, my mother would tuck me into bed at night and would give me a “butterfly kiss.” (This is when you flutter your eyelashes on someone’s cheek…like a butterfly’s wings) I passed this tradition on to Cassy. As I listened to the lyrics about a father watching his daughter grow up and eventually get married and move on, I found myself getting “misty-eyed.” When the song neared the end, my eyes were pretty “wet” with tears. Cassy couldn’t believe it! She had never seen me cry before. I explained to her how sad I was going to be when it was her time to leave our home to begin her new adult life. I’m sure she didn’t understand how tough that would eventually be for me. My little Princess was growing up too quickly.

If you’ve heard this song you probably know how “cheesy” the song really is but it has now become a “standard” at many wedding receptions because it accurately reflects the emotions of many fathers as their own Princess leaves the nest.

Here are the lyrics:
There’s two things I know for sure, she was sent here from heaven, and she’s daddy’s little girl. As I drop to me knees by her bed at night, she talks to Jesus, and I close my eyes. And I thank God for all of the joy in my life, but most of all, for butterfly kisses after bedtime prayers, stickin’ little white flowers all up in her hair. “Walk beside the pony, Daddy, it’s my first ride. I know the cake looks funny Daddy, but I sure tried” Oh with all that I’ve done wrong, I must’ve done something right to deserve a hug every morning and butterfly kisses at night.

Sweet sixteen today, she’s looking like her momma a little more every day. One part woman, the other part girl. To perfume and makeup from ribbons and curls. Trying her wings out in a great big world. “You know how much I love you Daddy, but if you don’t mind, I’m only going to kiss you on the cheek this time.” With all that I’ve done wrong I must’ve done something right to deserve her love every morning and butterfly kisses at night.

All the precious time, like the wind, the years go by. Precious butterfly, spread your wings and fly.

She’ll change her name today. She’ll make a promise, and I’ll give her away. Standing in the bride room just staring at her, she asked me what I’m thinking and I said, “I’m not sure. I just feel like I’m losing my baby girl.” Then she leaned over and gave me butterfly kisses, with her momma there, sticking little white flowers in her hair. “Walk me down the aisle Daddy, it’s just about time. Does my wedding gown look pretty Daddy? Daddy don’t cry.”

I couldn’t ask God for more, this is what love is. I know I’ve got to let her go, but I’ll always remember every hug in the morning and butterfly kisses at night.

This song may be considered corny and manipulative, but it struck an emotion I hadn’t felt or expressed for many years. I might be human after all.

Next chapter: Our involvement in theatre.
Pictures: My daughter, Cassy.


  1. Funny that I didn't get to read this until Fathers' Day. My biological dad wasn't around for the bulk of my childhood and while I love my stepdad, he didn't come along until my teenaged years and thus I missed out on a lot of the father-son stuff that so many people take for granted. Reading your reminiscence of your adventures in parenting is eye-opening and a maybe little bittersweet.

    Not having kids, I am perhaps not the best person to comment, but having seen relatives and now friends raising children, it seems that raising a daughter is so much harder than raising a son, but ultimately just as rewarding, if not more in some ways. Kudos on having been both a father AND a dad!

  2. Sean,
    Thanks!...I now it's a cliche...but there are some "blessings" that come with having children. It's a ton of work and heart-break too though!

  3. Seeing your child grow up is the greatest experience in life to me. And yes, daughters grow up much too fast. But I know it is my obligation to let her go one day - everything else would be selfish. Jealous fathers are unfair to their children. So at least I hope I won't show it to my child.