My dad and I visited over a cup of coffee at the local coffee shop this morning. I can’t even remember the last time we’ve done that, if ever. That’s if you don’t count the times he used to fix me coffee in my sippy cup when I was little…3 parts milk, 2 parts sugar, and 1 part decaf coffee. It was a magical mixture that made me feel like quite the big girl. I think to some degree, I’ve always been a ‘Daddy’s Girl’, but I never wanted to admit it.
My dad took dance lessons at Arthur Murray dance school, so my favorite memories with him are when he would put me on his feet and dance with me. That was always the one thing we always did together – dancing. Even if it was just for a few minutes in our living room, or on the dance floor at a square dance, at a party, or wherever there was music…we would dance together. When I got older, and too big for my britches at times, I didn’t think I needed him anymore. I suppose we all do that at some point when growing up. Because he and I are also very much alike, we would butt heads more often than we got along. Thus, entered the years of friction between us. For the most part, we did okay. But there were moments I didn’t think we would overcome our differences. I can be a bit stubborn you see…as can he. I learned from the best.
The last 25+ years I haven’t been around much. My family took me to many different places, most of them far from home. We visited as often as we could, but it’s hard to do sometimes when raising a family. Now, at almost 74 years of age, his health isn’t what it used to be and I know my time with him (and my Mom and Grandma) is precious. I’ve wanted to be closer to home for a long time, but it just wasn’t possible until now. Recently, my life changed directions and I made the decision to try and move back home – hitting ‘restart’ on the virtual button of life. Thanks to a wonderful job opportunity I didn’t expect, I was able to make the move a reality even sooner than I had planned. I’ve been home a couple of weeks now, and although it’s been a hard transition in many ways, I know this is where God wants me…for many reasons. I feel whole here, and my heart is at peace.
There are many who didn’t understand why I would want to move back home, given the successful career track I was on in Washington state. I had one colleague tell me that, ‘I was on a trajectory here’, and that I needed to rethink the move. Another friend said, ‘You won’t make as much money there.’ Ironically they were both grouchy older gentlemen. Go figure…
Sharing coffee with my Dad this morning though, was another affirmation that I made the right decision. I’m going through a rough time right now, and he sat there and simply encouraged me and lifted me up with his words. He listened to me, and watched the tears fall from my eyes as I shared all my hurts and fears. Then, for the first time, my Dad shared some things with me that I never knew before, about a part of his life I had never known. His heart was laid open before me, and I saw myself in him. I felt exactly how he felt. I have lived through an experience that he once lived, and I never knew it until today. For you see, as strong and proud as my dad is…he’s also a dreamer, a romantic at heart, he’s suffered heart break, is human and fallible, and hurts like anyone else. He just doesn’t let me see it very often. I do believe I love my him more today than I ever thought possible. He isn’t the same man I grew up with by any means, and I wish I had seen more of this side of him when I was young. But we can’t rewind time, as much as I wish we could.
I think that’s okay though. Everything I have lived through up to this point, both good and bad, has made me the woman I am today…and I kind of like her! She’s strong, and feisty…a little stubborn at times, but I like to think she’s also warm and kind, and still has a lot of love to give others if they let her. Yes, I like who I am more and more every day, and much of who I am is because of my Dad. (You too mom! Love you dearly, and I’ll blog about you another time.) At this point in my life, there are a few parts of me that are a little broken and tattered, and although I’m on the mend, it may take me a bit to get back where I want to be. I believe the best parts of me are still in pretty good shape though, so I can’t complain much.
My heart still beats and loves others with passion. My arms still wrap around my precious children, hugging them tight and holding them at night if they get scared. My hands hold other hands to keep them steady, or keep them warm. My feet still walk alongside my friends and family during the good and bad times. My eyes still see the best in people…despite their past mistakes. My legs still stand firm upon my beliefs. My voice still sings out with joy and laughs along with life, and my ears still hear the music that feeds my soul. These are the parts that count most, right?
Anyway, this blog is for you Dad. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for sharing your heart with me. I know it hasn’t always been easy between us, but I’ve always loved you, and always will. I guess I will always be Daddy’s girl.
Until next time,
Call your dad (or step-dad, or father figure) if you have one. Life is short, so don’t let too much time pass without telling him you love him.