I don't really know how tall my dad is; when I was little and we'd go to the grocery store I'd have to run to keep step with him. I'd always say Daddy slow down and he'd always apologize and correct his walk to match mine...
When it comes to my parents, there are only a few things which can turn this "thirty-something" into mush quicker then a look from them... you know the one, the one that says you are out of line. Furrowed brow, pursed lips, eyes narrowed. I haven't perfected that look yet with my own kids, however both my parents can and it can reduces me to childhood in seconds flat; complete with braces and footy pajamas... only half kidding about the footy pajamas.
What I really want to talk about is this man, my dad, was cool... he was in a band, they'd practice at our home. He played guitar and he'd sing to us. Music filled our home growing up... the Beatles, Beach Boys, what-else... I don't even know... Lot's of music, all the time.
My Dad has an amazing story, if you know me... you know most of it. If you have just begun to get to know me, I will share his story someday - it is mostly his to tell but I wouldn't be who I am without his story; his story is delicately and indiscriminately woven into me. I will say only this right now, sometimes in life we battle darkness... sometimes we have to battle a long time before we come out the other side completely new, transformed, remade!!!
Back to the mush... the other thing that can turn me into that small child is my parents love for me. They have always made it clear where I belonged, that I would always have a home no matter where life took me. Just knowing that fact gave this girl all the confidence in the world to step out and do the things I have done and continue to do.
The heart of this blog tonight is one simple act, one small thing that happened today that will stay with me for a lifetime. The moment caught as lump in my throat, burned into memory...
We are those people at church that have a particular spot, if you will, sometimes we vary our seating by a few rows but usually in the same specific section. My brother, always on the aisle, flanked on the right by my dad, followed my mom, my husband and me. I like the middle of the row.
Today though, we were thrown off a bit; my brother brought an acquaintance, my mom and my husband both missed church and so for the first time, almost ever I want to say, I got to sit at church next to my dad. To tell the rest, I only have to say I never imagined this moment with my dad because he was never much of a church attender when I was growing up. Certainly never a member of a Baptist Church like he is now. I also never really witness him with a bible in hand, like I did today, following along, reaching for scripture... I was in love and watching him as a child.
Towards the end of service we held hands, father and daughter - caught up after prayer. Thankful for the quiet moment... I haven't held his hand since I was little. The comfort of a father... the love only daddy can give. An amazing gift.
I realized, what we - as parent's do, matters... it matters when our kids are little. We are pouring the foundation for the people we are raising. It matters as they get older... even when they are "thirty-something". Being the example, the light that says it's never too late to get back on the path. The love that continues to sustain even when purpose seems to say it's not needed. The safe place to come and rest your hand... for a moment.
Unconditional love and belonging, there is no greater gift.
For my dad tonight... our Father Daughter song...
Love your #1.