Today my Beanie Belle is twenty-two, and I had the special privilege of taking her out for lunch at the Granite City in Fort Wayne. Especially since she first went away to college, it has been one of my favorite treats to take my daughter out for a meal. I enjoyed the opportunities to do so while she was going to school in Bloomington, and now, somehow, it seems all the more profound a joy. Her wonderful husband, Sam, is treating her to a night on the town this evening, but for me there was the pleasure of escorting her to lunch. Not only do I always treasure the time I get to spend with her, but such occasions are a comforting reassurance of the place I still have in her life as her Daddy. Call me an old softy, but there is nothing in this life on earth more precious to me than that.
I am constantly amazed at the uniqueness of the father-daughter relationship. As many country songs as there are about it, the peculiar bond and affection of a daddy for his little girl can never be fully or adequately captured or expressed. I marvel at the way DoRena just glows and radiates life and happiness, and that not only because she's seven months pregnant with my first grandchild. She's simply beautiful, as she has been since the day she was born.
My Beanie Belle is all grown up, graduated from college, married and having a baby of her own, but she still is my "little girl," not only in my fond memories of her childhood, but in my heart and in my eyes. I can hardly imagine a greater gladness than I feel when I see the twinkle in her eyes and that pretty smile of hers that permeates her whole face. To see her happy makes me happy. Today I was reminded, again, how very proud I am of her, how pleased I am for her and Sam and their life together, and how privileged I am to be her father.
Edward T. Oakes, S.J.: An Appreciation
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