A few nights ago, I walked into my bedroom, ready to crawl into bed, only to find there was no room for me in my California King.

It had been invaded by dogs.

Our mini golden doodle, Keller, was curled up at the head of the right side of the bed, my brother’s big dog, Ziglar, was all sprawled out, taking up the entire bottom half of the bed, while my daughter, Ellie, was cuddled up next to my brother’s other HUGE dog, Winston, on the left side of the bed.

We’d been watching my brother’s dogs for the past few days while he and his family went on vacation. I could tell by the look on Ellie’s face she couldn’t be happier being surrounded by her favorite dogs, but I was about to have to burst her bubble, because… NOT HAPPENIN’! Mama needs her space and her sleep ☺

As I was leaning in to tell Ellie to put the dogs back in their bed, I noticed she was saying something to Winston, “Winston, do you miss your Daddy? I miss mine, too.” My heart dropped and all I could do was gently scratch her back.

Almost daily, for the past few weeks, she’s expressed sadness and anger about missing her Daddy and wanting a Daddy. I’m so glad she feels safe enough to share her feelings with me and, at the same time, it’s hard for me to see her pain and not be able to do anything about it.

Even though I feel like we are in this together, I think she feels separate because I do have a Dad. She tells me things like, “You don’t know what it’s like to not have a Dad.”

Recently, she’s started comparing her life to the lives of families she thinks have it way better than us, because they have a dad, more animals, more siblings. I remind her what things look like on the outside are not always what they look like on the inside, and families come in all shapes and sizes.

I can tell she’s really struggling to come to grips with our reality. I did, too, and sometimes still do. I had to grieve the loss of what was before I could see the possibility of a new beginning.

A few weeks ago, Ellie got a flyer in her backpack for her school’s Father Daughter dance. I knew this day would come and I was anticipating what it would feel like.

As I suspected, it was really hard.

Thankfully, I had a bit of a heads up about the flyer. A mom of one of Ellie’s classmates, whom I’ve become really good friends with, texted me that day and asked if Ellie wanted to go with her daughter and her husband to the dance, which I thought was so considerate and kind.

I wasn’t sure if Ellie would want to go at all, but I thought, if she did, she would feel most comfortable with either my brother or my dad. Unfortunately, both were going to be out of town.

As I was getting a Plan B in place, my phone rang. It was my Dad. He’d just bought a ticket to fly home for the evening to take Ellie to the dance, and then he was going to return back to his business trip the next day.

This is one of the many reasons I love my dad so much. He always puts his family first. When I told Ellie her Poppy was going to take her to the dance, her face lit up like a Christmas tree and she said, “Do you think the kids will think he’s my Daddy?”

Having these hard conversations with my daughter and navigating parenthood without my better half is challenging, and I’ve experienced God’s faithfulness.

He gives each of us the strength we need for each moment so we can keep going, even when it’s hard or feels impossible, because He wants us to experience the fullness of all He has in store for each of our lives.

Today, my little girl turns 7! I find hope and encouragement in watching her grow into her own funny, kind, creative, generous, loving, nurturing, faith-filled, driven, determined, bright, and unique self.

It reminds me God is in control and, no matter our circumstances and challenges, He has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives.

Grateful to spend time with you today! As always, LOVE and BLESSINGS.

4 Responses to “HAPPY 7TH B-DAY EL”

  1. Barbara Haley

    This made me tear up…..what an incredibly thoughtful and loving father I have Bailey!? Happiest Bday to your big girl, Ellie?

    • Bailey Heard

      Thank you so much for reading Barbara and for sharing. My dad is definitely one of a kind! I will post pictures of them from the dance in next weeks blog post! Thank you so much for the birthday wishes for my sweet Ellie Grace! Love and Blessings Barbara.

  2. Wendy Petty

    I have followed your story since Morgan Smith asked for prayer when your husband was battling Cancer. I admired your strength as you have traveled your own road. I have since had to find the strength to make it without my husband that passed away 2 years ago at the age of 36 from encephalitis & raise my 2 girls without their Daddy. It has been heart wrenching and maddening at times. It has been a struggle but what peace I have found as I am on this journey. God is always present and has been a constant in my life since I was little. He is ever faithful and that is the only reason we have made it down this road. You really are an inspiration to many people and I am thankful God has used you in my life and as an encouragement to me. God bless you and your sweet daughter.


    • Bailey Heard

      Hi Wendy! Thank you so much for taking the time to reach out and for sharing some of your journey with me. I am so sorry for your loss and my heart goes out to you and to your girls because it is not an easy road. We are very much in a unique club that neither of us would have chosen. I admire your strength and your faith. I would love it if you would keep me updated on your life, on how you and your girls are doing and on how I can be praying for y’all. My personal email address is [email protected] Thank you so much for your kind words and your encouragement. You have no idea how much it means to me. Love and Blessings Wendy.