“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12 NIV
Today we honor my Father. He would have been 63 today, but he went to be with the Lord about 8 months ago. A man of great wisdom, intelligence, wit, creativity, integrity, love, and honor. A man that bandaged our “boo-boos,” was at every high-school band concert, every “Fish Fry” Friday, said grace before dinner, fixed every car that I crashed (I never said I was the good kid!), taught me the importance of health, caused me to be independent (which I learned the hard way by not listening… and discovering that we actually DO need help, support, and other people in our lives), encouraged me to be strong, led me to focus on my future, believed in me, and never gave up on me.
My Daddy (and Mom, of course. But this is his day!) didn’t give me an option about going to college- I was going. I was finishing in four years, too. My only “option” was what school- and I am so thankful. Dad taught me to use tools, and build things, so that I didn’t always have to call someone else for help. He taught me how to care for my first car (even though I was ungrateful for it at the time). Dad taught me how to give “the handshake” that crushes man hands to this day and makes them ask what my problem is. Pops was always there to diagnose me when I called about what “symptoms” I might have. He was there to confirm whether or not I could trust the Pharmacist or Doctor- and whose license he should revoke!
Dad was there to take a pay-cut, leave his well-paying career, move us to the best school district he could find in the state, and take a 9-to-5 job so he could be home with us for dinner and to help with homework every night. Dad helped throw my “Sweet 16” surprise party, and was there for every birthday I can remember when I lived at home. He even came to watch me “dance” at the country bar, and didn’t show how embarrassed he probably was! He was there when my car broke down delivering subs at the only job I could get when I graduated college. Dad was there at the airport to rescue me when I tried to “smuggle” water and sunscreen through TSA.
My Dad drove move me to college, to my first apartment, co-signed on my first lease when I moved to the “big city” but didn’t make enough money to vouch for myself. Dad taught by example how to cook from scratch, and was there to bring me fresh vegetables and “real food,” so I would be healthy. (Even though when he came back it had rotted in the back of the cupboard behind my TV Dinners!)
Dad was there for my going away party, and for my first academy graduation. He was there for my last academy graduation. He was there to tour my workplace in Virginia, and then again in DC, suffering through crazy security measures. My Daddy was there to scare my now husband, the first time they met… and give hubby the evil eye when he snuck out and paid for dinner. 😉
Dad drove twenty hours round-trip to come and see me twice a year for ten years… Every year when I was in driving distance, and he flew me home when I was too far for him to reach. He was there to teach me about responsibility when I ran up my first credit card… and the importance of a credit score for my future. My Dad was there for advice when I needed to know what to do in tough situations at work… no call, no text went unanswered. Dad was there to forgive me when I “grew up” and apologized for what a difficult teenager I had been. Dad put water under the bridge and loved me like Jesus- like I had always been perfect in his eyes.
Daddy was there to walk me down the aisle… and linger with me for a few moments, savoring the memory, taking a picture on his cell-phone… just to be with his princess while she was still his. He was there to lift my veil, and give me away to my wonderful husband. He was also there to tell hubby, “Now it’s your job to take care of her.” Dad was there to tell me it was “ok” for me to take my husband’s last name- that I was not abandoning the family, and it was actually customary! (LOL- yes. I realize how silly this sounds now, but at the time it was a real crisis for me!) He was also there to tell people to stop pestering us for babies. (Thank you, Dad!)
Dad was there to comment on how much hubby and I loved each other- and how he liked that we showed it… and then to demonstrate that love to Mom and start treating her that same way. Dad was at every church service whenever he visited us… and even began to research God on his own, as our conversations grew deeper…
Daddy was a great man. A great Father. His legacy also lives on in the Spirit of Excellence he had at his job. He was “the best” at what he did. Whatever he touched turned to gold. Everyone saw him as the ‘go-to’ guy. He lived a life of service, dedicated to helping people, and making this Nation a better place. Although my last name has changed, I still have his blood in my veins, and I yearn to carry on his legacy. I’m seeking God for what this looks like, but I feel that every day I grow closer to discovering my purpose, and walking out my God-given destiny. Thank you, Daddy, for leading the way. For making each generation better than the last. I hope you’re celebrating BIG up there in Heaven- the best birthday party you’ve ever had! A joyous reunion with your parents, friends, and all those who have gone before you. Send your angels down to protect us, lead us, and watch over us. We love you!