As Father’s Day gets closer, I’ve been thinking a lot about my dad. I don’t have a special Father’s Day card for him yet, but I’ve been thinking about the special memories I have – and there are so many. A lot of them are from when I was very young and Dad’s lap was my “safe place.” Any time there was a thunderstorm or a scary show on TV, I would run to Dad’s chair and leap into his lap. But, as always happens, one day I got too old to jump into Dad’s lap every time I was scared. Fortunately, though, I have always felt comfortable talking with him about my concerns and fears.
When I was 14 years old, I had to get braces. That’s a horrible time in a girl’s life. There are so many issues you have to deal with when you’re 14 – and if you’re female, you know what they are. Boobs, hormones, not having boobs, hormones, school, being awkward and gawky while your friends aren’t, boys, hormones….It’s the worst time ever. So adding braces to the mix was just the icing on a really bad cake.
Usually Mom took me to my orthodontist appointments, but for some reason, one day, my dad got called into action. My dad was a farmer. We raised cattle and grew apples and peaches. So Dad was super busy during the day – from sunrise to sunset. I don’t know how he got roped into taking me to a dentist appointment, but there he was when I got out of class for the appointment.
When the appointment was over, it was the middle of some class. I’m an introvert – and so’s my dad. So while Mom (the extrovert) would have taken me back to school, Dad totally understood that I didn’t want to walk into a classroom and be the center of attention in the middle of class. So my dad – who will always be my first and forever hero – took me to lunch. And he kept me occupied until the bell rang for a new class period. I will never forget that. I know he had so much work he had to do, but he stayed with me until I was comfortable going back to school.
Several years later, when I was in college, my parents owned a fruit and vegetable market. For some reason, Dad took me to lunch one day. I’m not sure what the occasion was, but we went to one of the restaurants that bought produce from our market. The owner’s wife was so rude to us, and neither of us could understand why, because she was usually very nice. Finally, Dad said, “Have you met my daughter?” – and all of a sudden she was our best friend. Seriously? Dad had a HUGE laugh when he realized she thought I was his “girlfriend.” And, honestly, it was a huge laugh, because my dad has always thought Mom is the most beautiful woman in the world – and the only one for him. The idea that anyone would ever take her place is totally ludicrous.
Every day, I fall a little bit more in love with my dad. When I watched him interact with my boys and now, when I watch him with my granddaughter, my heart melts. I wish every girl could have a dad like mine and know they are loved for no other reason than that they exist. My dad is the reason I have such a love for God as my eternal Father. As amazing and perfect as my dad is, I know God is even better. And that totally blows my mind.
So here you are, Papa. You are every lovely word I can possibly think of. I love you, Dad!