From the time I was two and my dad would throw me high into the air then catch me in his arms, I learned what it’s like to trust. On your daddy’s shoulders, nothing is too high to reach. I learned that you can make anything in life a competition, and that no gathering is complete without a good belly laugh.
I cherish the memories of waking up to do Saxon math and a Barney exercise DVD before he would leave for work each morning and the countless hours spent on science projects. And we dare not miss an episode of the Cosby Show!
Then I blinked.
The man whose attention I once fought for suddenly became the last person I wanted to be seen with. Descriptors of my dad changed from awesome and funny to embarrassing and uncool. My most pressing needs from him became $5 and transportation to various events where he was carefully instructed to “just drop me off here.”
It seems all teenagers are bound to eventually reach a point of thinking they don’t need their parents. In our minds, direct instructions sound more like suggestions, respect becomes optional, and discipline is nothing but the unleashing of our parent’s hatred towards us. Our feelings become “none of their business” and their advice is just another useless lecture. We dream of the day when we’ll fly on our own, free of the entanglement of our parents and all of their rules and restrictions.
But as I’ve soared, I’ve made mistakes, some which have planted me flat on my face. It’s in those moments that I realize that landing in my father’s firm grip isn’t so bad after all. The more I grow up and experience the world, the more I regret each roll of my eyes, disrespectful tone, and every time I thought I knew better.
I finally realized that I’ll never outgrow my dad. He was cool long before I was and most of the time, he truly does know best. I haven’t always loved, respected and appreciated my dad the way I should. Though he’s made mistakes and is by no means a perfect man, he is one whom I so greatly admire. He is generous, selfless, witty and wise, but most importantly, he points me to a greater Father, my heavenly father, who does all things well. Even in his shortcomings, my dad gives me glimpses of my Father’s perfect love for me.
You never know how long you’ll have with your earthly father and I don’t ever want to take the time I have for granted. I’m learning that each day I have to walk alongside my dad in life is a gift to be treasured. In cherishing life as his daughter, I’m also learning to cherish each curfew and conversation; to desire his discipline and discipleship and to love and learn from his leadership.
In the world today, I know it’s a rare thing to have a Daddy who loves well. Thank you Lord, for mine.