Just Love Me

Parents :

Just Love Me

by Scott Welch

Ours is a special relationship indeed. I wrote a song for my little girl and began singing it to her when she was still in her mother’s womb:

“Ariana Faith, you are my child,
You are a gift from God on high,
And I will love you all my days,
Teaching you to love His ways,
Because I love you.”

On her first night I remember her sleeping in the bassinet, just two feet away from me in the birthing room. She wore a little stocking cap snug over her head. That was only a few hours after she had made her entrance into the world and into my life. I awoke at 30-minute intervals through the night to gaze into her tiny face with awe and wonder.

Little did I know that less than five years later I would be striving to remain vitally involved in her life. My wife would file for divorce, and the courts would determine the custody arrangements. For the next two and a half years, I would be consumed with keeping our special relationship intact with the ultimate hope of being able to help her discover her God-given gifts.

All for love
I had to settle for weekends during much of that time, but at least it was every weekend, and for that I was grateful. There were occasional overnights during the week as well. For an entire year, I drove 70 miles round trip twice every weekend to pick her up and return her to her mother, who had moved away. Ariana never once complained about traveling more than 500 miles in the car each month, as each parent drove an equal distance for the exchange.


I recently asked Ariana if she knew why I had done all of that driving, and she answered, “Because you love me.”

I told her, “That’s right,” but I was saying to myself, Yes! She gets it! She understands!

I tell Ariana I love her at least three or four times a day, and I give her kisses and hugs as often as we see each other. But she is also aware of my commitment to her because of the time and energy I have invested in her life.

Building memories
Every night we’re together, after we read a Bible story or devotional lesson, Ariana knows that it’s time for piggyback ride up the stairs. Sometimes she’ll get a horsey ride, which requires a bit more effort on my part. She loves it when I turn out the lights and amble up the stairs on all fours, only to bump my head on every wall and door on the way to her room.

Once she’s tucked into bed, I reassure her that Jesus will protect her. A couple of years ago, I offered another prayer to the Lord by her bedside after she was asleep. I would look into her little face and plead with God, “Please, Lord, don’t allow the divorce to separate her from me. I want to be involved in her life.”

Bedtime is also a time of play and connection. Ariana asks for a “Larry the Caterpillar” story, a fictional character we’ve created together, complete with sound effects and friends. Being her daddy means that I know the “given” names of all of her toy characters we’ve accumulated over the past several years, and she requires that I use all of my 100 voices to bring them to life.

Playing and praying
Those are just a few of the pleasurable experiences I’m privileged to enjoy on a regular basis. Ariana has taught me that joy is “Jesus playing in your heart.”
One of the things I appreciate about our relationship is that I rarely have to come up with our next activity. There is some planning involved, but most of our interaction evolves out of her imagination and creativity. Whether reading, coloring, swimming, flying a kite, shopping, attending church, cooking, playing a board game or watching a movie, we enjoy it together. All I really need to do is be with her and seize the moment by experiencing things on her level—and let the fun begin!

You may be wondering if my prayers were answered. I am a fortunate father. Ariana lives with me every other week for the entire week, as both she and her mother returned to my city of residence. While this situation is not what I hoped for at the start of Ariana’s life, I’m glad for the relationship we share.

If you’re a single father devastated by marital separation or divorce and you’re wondering how to relate to your little girl, I have some encouragement for you. Just love her. That’s it.

If you love her, you’ll pray for her, play with her (yes, maybe even with dolls) and be with her whenever possible. When it comes to your children, it’s not complicated. They just want to be loved. It’s enough that my daughter understands that. Right now, that’s enough for me, too.


Scott Welch is a producer on the Focus on the Family daily radio broadcast.

For more encouragement, look at She Calls Me Daddy in our online shop.
” Just Love Me.” From the Feb/March 2004 issue of Focus on the Family magazine, a publication of Focus on the Family. Copyright © 2004, Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.


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