The Intricately Underwhelming Puzzle Piece

The Intricately Underwhelming Puzzle Piece

I looked up the definition of the word “father,” somehow hoping for some in-depth, vast, and meaningful description. Fully expecting some glimmer of overwhelming inspiration. In some way, I guess I got what I wanted, because I certainly gained inspiration, yet not in the manner I anticipated.

The definition of “Father” read:

“A man in relation to his natural child or children.”

“Wow,” I thought, “this single sentence sums up my relationship with Alexzandria. Is this all I am? A man in relation to her?” It doesn’t sound special at all, it could have been anybody! Yet, I have this confidence (perhaps cockiness to some) that no one was equipped to father her like I was. Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means saying I’m the best and most capable father there is, I certainly make mistakes. I am saying, however, that I am the perfect piece to the puzzle that is my daughter.

I understand her like so few others can. I understand and translate her speech and emotion when others are unsure of what she is conveying. I know how to make her laugh without saying a single word, or performing any grand gesture. I know Alexzandria’s personality and her quirks better than anyone, because so much of her personality, is exactly like mine. Who knew she could even inherit my demeanor, or body language, beyond just physical attributes?

Now, I understand that many people may disagree when I say, “I am the puzzle piece, perfectly fit for the puzzle that is Alexzandria.” Many would say that she is a piece of my puzzle, not the other way around.

A child without a father is missing a piece, a piece their mother, nor any other man can adequately fill. Some people may be excellent fits, but some part of the fatherless child always yearns for the original piece. Yet, so often, children don’t even know their fathers until they’ve been missing so long that the father’s edges are worn, and ragged. Their image is tattered and frayed, they’ve gotten wet with disconnection, and no longer complete the picture. Leaving that child in search of the perfect piece to fill the void he left behind.

I have a daughter. I refuse to have her searching out pieces to fill the void I left; attempting to place ill fitting pieces and disappointed time after time, when nothing fits. Wondering, what that section of the puzzle looks like when completed, only left to her imaginations.

I am but a small piece of something greater, of a brilliant little woman who is sassy, yet easily lovable. She is outspoken, and aims to please her parents. She is kind hearted, sincere, and silly, and it is my job to protect her. It’s my job to demonstrate before her honesty, good character, work ethic, and a love for God. It’s my job to be the first, and best, gentleman she knows. It’s my job to lead her, educate her, prepare her, love and RESPECT her mother. I must do these things, because she deserves a perfectly intricate puzzle piece, rich with quality, perfectly fit for the young woman I fully expect her to become.

It is because of all of this that I must say, being a father may be underwhelming and lack luster by definition, but we must look again. We must read between the lines. I am the most intricate “unimportant” puzzle piece, in that I am everything, yet still NOTHING without my connecting pieces. I can change everything, but I cannot stand alone. Despite all of my imperfect curvatures, and sharp corners, I am a perfect fit for my puzzle. No one will ever be what I can be to my family because I am the underwhelming, read between the lines, lack luster puzzle piece that has the power to make all the difference. The beauty lies in what I complete, not in what I am, and I complete this family I am blessed with.

My family, they are my beauty, they are the big picture. Alexzandria is the work of art, the work in progress, and me? I’m just another piece of the puzzle.

I am a father – “a man in relation to his natural child or children.”


My daughter, Zandri

My daughter, Zandri

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