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Happy Birthday Daddy, did I do a good job?

Happy Birthday Daddy

I think my father’s birthday is today. Or maybe it was yesterday.  I am not sure what day he was born. His mother said today, and he said yesterday. They are both dead now, so there is no one to ask.

Today I thought about my father. I thought about him while I made my breakfast. I thought about him when I shoveled the driveway and took the dog outside to go to the bathroom. When I was painting in the basement I could hear his voice.

Do whatever you want to do with your life. Be a janitor if you want to. Just be the best janitor you can be. 

And as I painted I wondered. Would he be proud of me? Did I do a good job Daddy? I stayed home with my children and didn’t get an outside job with a paycheck. I write now Daddy, just like you, and I am painting. I am trying to be the best mom and writer and painter I can be. Sometimes I  go to bed with dishes in the sink, and I don’t clean the seven litter boxes every day, but I love my children and try to do my best. 

My dad’s home had dog hair all over the carpet, and he didn’t take off his shoes when he came in the house, unless he was hunting and he had mud on them.

But the dirt and the dog hair don’t matter now.

My father wrote me once a week while I lived in Tokyo. This is a poem he wrote me on the back of a letter, dated March 4, 1986

Happy Birthday Daddy


Have I told you lately
that I care
about WHERE
your footsteps fall
When you follow
night birds wing
for heart treasure
Have I told you lately
That I listen
for your footsteps
to return
to my garden
and help me
find a rose
for your ear.

WHF (William Harry Fernuik)
March 4/1986

A letter from my father

Happy Birthday Daddy,

I love you today.
I loved you yesterday.
And I will love you tomorrow.

I wish I could walk in your garden
with you today.

love Pamela
January 22/ 2014

My father has been dead for 16 years, and still I wonder if he is proud of me. Or, if he would be proud of me.

And I know what really matters. It is not what my father thought, or what he would think if he were alive. What matters is what God thinks of me.

In Psalm 17, David asks:

Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,

And I ask, “God, please keep me as the apple of Your eye, and hide me under the shadow of Your wings.”

And I remember the song I sang as a child.

Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.

The song I sang while I followed night birds wing looking for heart treasure.

Happy Birthday Daddy, did I do a good job?

Do you want your parents to approve of what you do? Do you still want their approval even though they are dead?

As I write that, it seems a weird thought. Why do I still feel the need for my father’s approval, when he is not alive to give it? Why does it seem to matter?

God will never leave us nor forsake us. We don’t have to be afraid or discouraged.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.
Deuteronomy 31:8

I always look forward to reading your comments.



About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • Beautiful post Pamela! Thank you for allowing us to be part of your memories. I’m sure he would be very proud of you – it sounds as if he knew the priorities in life and it seems as if you do too.
    My dad passed away in 2010 and there are times I just need one of his “bear hugs” or to hear him call me “peanut”. Sweet memories!

    • Hello Kim,
      Thank you for for taking the time to tell me my dad would be proud of me. I am so sorry your dad passed away. You were his peanut. I pray you feel comforted today. Daddy’s are special. And your dad sounds like a kind man with good hugs.

  • La McCoy


  • Sweet post, Pamela. I’m certain your dad is proud of you. I’m sure he would smile knowing you followed in his footsteps. He sounds like a sensitive man.

  • Valorie MacDonald

    A captivating story, Pamela! It is beautiful to know you had such encouragement from your father who was also a fellow artist. Even if you had to go through a long process to return to your creative roots and indeed are still in that process, as you are so open with all of us about here. Thank you for sharing the priceless treasure of his letters and giving us this glimpse into your heart, and your father’s! I may have to steal the quote about being a janitor:)
    I so agree with the others here, that he would be proud of you. It’s a natural need in all of us, yet I understood on a very deep level what you were saying about finding approval in how God sees us. I just went through an extremely painful experience last month that showed me just how much I’m still looking around for that nod of approval of “permission” to be me, not only from my parents when they visit but even on a daily basis in my home.
    I am 42 so it occurs to me I probably do not need permission or approval.
    Except from God.
    I think I need to go use that tube of lipstick again, on my mirror that is!)
    i AM A WRITER because that’s how God created me; it’s really not my decision.
    Ugh. I mean, YAYYYY! It’s a New Dayyyyy!!! ;D
    I just can’t expect the gut.level.knee.jerk.reaction of UGH to go away with the wave of the magic wand…that I do not own!
    But I do possess a Sword and on the edge of the blade are words like those from Psalms and Deuteronomy and Zephaniah and Isaiah…THOSE are the words I will begin to wield in place of the UGHs and Blahs and Can’ts and Who Am I To…s…;)

    • Good Morning Valorie,
      I pray today you feel loved. And that each morning when you wake up you will believer the truth in the Bible and not the lies that make you doubt who you are and your ability to create and write.
      When I was little I thought being “grown up,” meant I would not worry anymore, but it is not true is it? We still worry and doubt.
      I pray for healing from your painful experience last month. You are not your past, you are not what others say about you, you are not the painful comments. You are a child of God, loved and created fearfully and wonderfully.
      xo Pamela
      Hugs for you today

  • You were so fortunate to have a father who was able to share his heart. He was proud of you then and would be proud of you now. I think you should write a book about your father.

    • Thank you Shelley,
      I could call it, Hunting With My Father. Or, “Everything I Know I learned While Hunting.”
      Or “How To Skin A Fox and Other Life Lessons My Father Taught Me..”

  • Pamela – I have no doubt that your Daddy would be proud of you today. This is a beautiful story. The love he felt for you is evident as is the love you still have for him.

    • Thank you Joan,
      I do love him. Finding his old letters to me has been such a blessing, as I realize he loved me too.

  • Christa Sterken

    Sniff sniff, that was so beautiful! My eyes are cloudy with appreciation of that kind of love. I didn’t know my parents were proud of me until I was almost 40. They were surprised I didn’t know, I was too…

    • Hello Christa,
      I am so happy you found out your parents are proud of you! You are a child of God, full of smiles and creative ideas. God put you in the A line. God never makes a B line.
      I wonder why I keep thinking I am on the B line? The defective goods that would be found at an Outlet Store.
      Today I want to write an A+ on my mirror with red lipstick. You are an A+ Christa!

      • Christa Sterken

        Thank you sweet encourager! Keep writing your beautiful honest words

  • Abiola Olaleye

    What a beautiful poem. Your dad would definitely be proud of the beautiful daughter who followed in his footstep not to mention being an inspiration to many, me inclusive.

    Reading this with my boys and the older one wouldn’t let me rest until I clicked on the video.The little girl is super-cute, we truly enjoyed her presentation.

    Yes, Jesus love us; what really matters is what God thinks, of us.



    • Hello Abiola,
      Thank you for the encouragement about my writing. Hello to your boys.
      Yes, what really matters is what God thinks of us.
      P.S. What is the weather like where you live?
      Hugs to you too, friend. (smile)

      • Abiola Olaleye

        Over here, we have lots of sunshine with the attendant heat. Was complaining until a dear friend posted on my recent post about the weather where she lives…frozen, ice, blizzard, had to send her some e-warmth. (Hoping she gets them).

  • Pamela Black

    Pamela, sixteen years ago,while you were grieving the loss of your father, I was rejoicing in the birth of my daughter on this very day. What a beautiful gift He gave to me while at the same time something beautiful was taken from you. It is not the irony of life. It is the hand of a sovereign God. I truly believe that.
    And yet, as much as I trust and believe in His authority in my life, like you I often ask, “Daddy am I doing a good job?”
    The world we live in is so hard. Like you I choose to stay home with my children and also to write and create. I do not get a steady paycheck. The world says I should. People have point blank told me I should. And even when they don’t, Satan uses every opportunity to shout that I’m wrong. He’d like me to believe that My children need money and things more than a Mom who is always here. That my contribution to society should be more practical. That following Gods direction and pursuing the beauty He placed in my heart isn’t valid until there’s a price tag attached with a paycheck as well.
    But there is a price tag. Because everything costs. And what would it cost me to ignore Gods words to my heart? And what would it cost me not to be here ministering to my family in a million little ways.
    Your fathers words are beautiful. Thank you for sharing them. And thank you for being you and sharing that with the world. I think he would be proud and I believe God is as well
    Big cyber hugs to you today as you remember your father ~

    • Abiola Olaleye

      Dear Pamela,

      I do not know you but your words touched me in ways I can’t even explain. Maybe I can explain, really. Your words reminded me of my mom….



    • Pamela,
      You said what I have felt in my heart for years. I have had people say to me I should get a job too.
      Your comment sounds like a good idea for a story on your blog dear friend. If you decide to write about it, you are very welcome to post it here.
      Thank you for the hugs and Happy Birthday to your daughter today.

  • Berdeane Bodley

    I always enjoy your stories, we always celebrated your Fathers birthday on January 22nd, I beleive that is what was on his birth certificate if that helps, and yes Pamela, your Dad was & is very proud of you & well he should be, there is no one has a better daughter than we do, then again I may be a tad prejudiced. 🙂

    • Hello Mom,
      I am so happy you can comment now. Yes, we celebrated with your angel food cake didn’t we?
      I love you Mom, and thank you for telling me my Dad was proud of me, and you are proud of me.