One lazy Saturday when my daughter, Eliana, was 4 years old, we sat on the porch swing recounting the fun things of the day and singing her favorite songs.  It was one of those moments you just don’t forget.  At just four, she was typically a ball of energy, but in this moment , she chose to sit still with me.  My arm wrapped around her as her head lay fittingly against my shoulder.  The air was still, the view of the evening summer sunset was due any moment.  After we finished a song, I looked down at her.

“You know I love you, right?”  I asked.

“Yes, Daddy, I know you love me.”  She responded.

“Can I ever stop loving you?”

If you know me, you know I like asking questions, though I’m not exactly sure where that question even came from.  But I wanted her to really think through how much I loved her.  I expected some answer like: Well, not if I’m bad.  Or, Not when I pick on my sister.  Instead, I got the answer I was looking for.

“No, Daddy, you can’t stop loving me.” she replied.

Wanting to go a step further, I asked her why.

“Why could I never stop loving you?” I asked.

Again, I wasn’t sure how this little 4-year-old mind would process an answer.  Maybe she’d say: I don’t know.  Or, Because.  Or, Well, upon 2nd thought, maybe you could stop loving me!  I hoped that last one wouldn’t be said.

Her answer?  Matter of fact, surprisingly mature, unimaginably true and fundamentally correct.  I’m not sure even I could’ve crafted such a beautiful response.

“Why could I never stop loving you?”…

Her beautiful brown eyes locked with mine.

“Because I’ll always be your daughter.”


She’s right.  No matter what, she’ll always be my daughter.  Nothing can alter that fact.  I’ll always be her dad.  I’ll always be Kya and Everett’s dad as well.  Nothing they can do can ever change that.  No amount of mess or heartache or teenage drama or talking back or silent treatment or _________.  It’s foundational.  It’s true.  She’ll always be my daughter.

I’m reminded of the verse of the classic George Strait song:

Let me tell you a secret about a father’s love

A secret that my daddy said was just between us

He said daddies don’t just love their children every now and then

It’s a love without end, amen

It’s a love without end, amen

Not just when things are easy.  Not just when they succeed.  Not just when they listen.  Not just when they conform to my expectations.  Not just when everything is going well in life, job and marriage.

Not every now and then.

But always.  Without end.


Even when they don’t eat their vegetables, hit their siblings, want to quit something, or act in a way that’s contrary to the values we’ve tried to instill in them.

We show them that we love them now and then and every moment in between.

Not just if you’re a father, of course, but a mother, stepdad, adopted mother, godparent, aunt, uncle, whatever.

But for my 3 kids…I’ll always be their Dad.

Love without end.