My song today is one that I heard for the very first time yesterday but thought it to be entirely suitable for today’s birthday celebrants, particularly my only daughter, Rebecca. The song is entitled ‘My Little Girl’ and was co-written and performed by the American country music singer, Tim McGraw. The song was first released in August 2006 as one of the singles in his album, ‘Tim McGraw Reflected: Greatest Hits Volume 2’. The second co-writer of the song was Tom Douglas.
‘My Little Girl’ reached the top three on ‘Billboard Hot Country Songs’. It was also featured in the movie ‘Flicka’ and was nominated by the ‘Broadcast Film Critics Association’ for ‘Best Song’ in 2006.
My only daughter Rebecca was born on February 6th, 1985. Very early on in her life, she started to exert influence over me. I’d been smitten with her presence in my life since I saw her lifted out of her mother’s womb. The surgeon who delivered Becky was a stickler who believed that fathers ought not to be present at their wife’s theatre delivery. He was in that group colloquially known as the medical dinosaurs. I had adhered to his decision when William was born, but not this time. Although I was barred from being present in the theatre from seeing the birth of my daughter, I nevertheless refused to miss her arrival into the world. So, I found out the theatre location and peered through the plastic windows in the doors from a concealed position. Becky’s birth produced the cry of life…from me…and she also made everyone aware of her presence by yelling also, “I’ve arrived, Dad. Your beautiful little girl has arrived!”
I already had four sons and being a dad, I’d always wanted a daughter too. Even her name had been decided sixteen years before her birth, and believe it or not, fate had played its part in what she would be Christened. When I first met Becky’s mother, we discovered one huge uncanny coincidence. We’d each told ourselves many years earlier that if ever we had a daughter, she would be called Rebecca. I have found in my lifetime, on more than one occasion, that it is not so unusual for two suitably matched people in love with each other to share the same dream which one day unfolds.
Naturally, I’d researched the origin of the name 'Rebecca' and found it to be of Hebrew origin (the name Rivkah). Its meaning is ‘to tie firmly’. A second meaning from the Old Testament is ‘captivating beauty’, and a third derivative is ‘moderator’. Related names are Becca, Becky, and Reba.
Your existence, Becky during your first four years, essentially made me a lifelong captive to your charms. You could get anything you wanted from your father simply by smiling when you asked for it. I smiled often at the situations you would place yourself in. For nearly six months, we couldn’t stop you snuggling up in the dog basket with our new black Labrador puppy. On the occasions you found my pipe, (the smoking of which your mother always referred to as being ‘a filthy habit), I would find you washing it in the sink. I naturally smiled at the things you did in your innocence, because I was your father, and in later life, you also laughed 'because I was your father' and there wasn’t a damned thing you could do about it.
I recall the first four years of your life when your asthma was at its worse, and we would have to rush you to hospital in the middle of the night when you were having a serious attack. Such emergency hospital dashes would occur approximately two to three times annually. Your mum and I would take you in our car as we didn't want to risk a delayed ambulance.
For the first three years of your life, you slept in your parent’s bed and I would lie you flat on my stomach. I did this for two reasons. I had practiced relaxation training since the age of 11 years and knew that my easy breathing pattern would more than likely be replicated by you if you slept with your head to my tummy. Secondly, I knew that once you started to have an asthma attack that your erratic breathing pattern would disturb me from my sleep if you lay on my stomach face down.
I recall that you were always near the top of your class in first, middle and secondary school. I thought that around the age of 10 years old that you would most certainly be an author as the standard of your imagery and descriptive writing was simply years beyond your age. As happens with most growing girls, your teenage years gradually witnessed less of an interest in education and more of an interest in boys.
When you went off to university, and as with all my children, I was a proud father. You started a degree course in one subject and then after one year, exercised your female prerogative to change your mind, and you subsequently changed course to a different subject. I remember asking you what you wanted to do with your future, and you indicated that you were fascinated by politics, and also in being a forensic scientist. At the end of the day, you finished up working in Humane Relations as a tax consultant, in a well-paid highly responsible job, living independently in London.
My only negative experience I can recall about your university years down in London concerned the same perennial problem that all fathers of university students encounter. Each year you were at university, you would stay in a shared house with other students. This would always involve each student paying 0ver £1000 deposit ‘which would be returned at the end of the tenancy.’ Like the father of all university students, my daughter reassured me that I would get my £1000 'returnable deposit' back next year.
When the year ended, a new place to live would be required again, but the landlord, (who always found their rented houses returned cleaner than when they were initially moved into), could, nevertheless be always guaranteed to come up with some reason that resulted in the £1000 (or a substantial part of it) being forfeited. There were occasionally other shared house-tenants who moved out without notice, leaving the fathers of remaining students to pick up the bill for the additional portion of unpaid rent. Then, at the end of each university year, the house hunting, the required large ‘unreturnable deposit’ from the bank of mum and dad, and the one full day moving every piece of new furniture across London in dad’s car would start all over again.
I often wonder Becky if you remain of single status today because of the high standards I have always attached to the behaviour of men in their relationships with women. Through my own respect that I have always shown for your mother, I have tried to teach my sons how to treat a woman besides teaching my daughter what to expect from men as a minimum. I only hope that your single status today, Becky is through choice (which I believe it to be) and that I didn’t set too high a standard in my relationship with your mum against which you judge all men and find most wanting.
I am pleased that you grew up with two parents, each of whom have always loved and supported you. I am especially pleased that since your mother, and I divorced a dozen years ago that you have maintained a positive relationship and regular contact with each of us. Your mother is a good woman and will never let you down. I am also pleased that you get on so well with my wife, Sheila and that you enjoy your visits to our home and weekend stays.
I will end with one piece of fatherly advice, Becky. If ever you have a day that is going badly or for whatever reason seems more stressful than usual, and you start to feel inadequate in some measure, unloved or unworthy, remember whose daughter you are, smile broadly my Princess, and straighten your crown. Love Dad and Sheila x
Have a super birthday today, Becky, along with Joseph and Bernadette.
Love and peace Bill xxx