As a little girl I dreamed of my wedding day. I dreamed of a beautiful woman, glowing in an exquisite white gown, being escorted down an aisle by the most important man in her life... her dad. MY dad.
It's interesting how we come into our own as we grow older. As a kid I was much...MUCH shyer than I am today. Insecure and tentative, I clung to my mom. A mama's girl all the way. My mom's the one who held me and comforted me. She's the one I got homesick for when I was away. But while Mom held, Dad pushed. Pushed us kids out of the house to play outside and not come back in "until the sun went down." Pushed us to think independently, stand on our own, take on responsibility, never "half-ass" anything, pick ourselves back up and GO. Go after life, our dreams, our goals.
As I have gotten older, come into my own and discovered my voice, I have noticed that it often times sounds a lot like my dad. The dad that raised his girls like sons. And by that I mean, we played catch, mowed the lawn, shoveled the driveway, worked with power tools, got dirt under our nails, etc. etc., but most of all were encouraged to have a voice. Have an opinion. Stand for something. It's not about "being a man" but about "not needing a man" to be a strong woman. I have my dad to thank for that.
He was present in his kids' lives. He wasn't perfect, but he was always present. He wasn't always lovable, but he always loved.
As I sit here typing, I have image after image from memories of a dad that was there every step of the way. And as badly as I want to start typing each one out...I will spare you for now...
Here's a memory of my dad that I'm not so fond of.
I was home for Christmas break my senior year of college. It was cold. My dad took us three kids to a Chief's game. We had to walk a long way to get to our seats in the stadium from where we had parked. When we got home, Dad couldn't get warm. He got sick. Real sick. Dad had diabetes and this kind of thing happened sometimes...but not this bad. This was really bad. Then during the middle of the night, I was frantically woken up to be told Mom was taking Dad to the hospital. To be honest, I don't remember the words...I'm never good at remembering words...but I remember visuals like they were yesterday, and I won't forget seeing my dad's blood all over the bathroom floor. It was so red. And I won't forget thinking, Is my dad about to die?
My dad had diabetes. An infection that had been in his legs moved into his blood stream causing septic shock and kidney failure. On top of that, he suffered from A-fib. So while in the hospital, his heart went out of rhythm and raced. The worse part was...I saw his face and he was giving up. I was pissed. I told him, You have to fight!
I almost lost my dad.
We spent Christmas at the hospital that year. And while that should be super depressing, I just remember laughing a lot. Thankful to be spending it all together.
But here's what I realized after that incident... I had a plan B. For my wedding day. I had a plan B. My brother would walk me down the aisle if my dad was no longer here to do it. We all have a plan B for most situations, but we don't give them much thought because we don't expect to use them. But I found myself expecting to use mine. In fact, I think sometimes my plan B was becoming my plan A. I'm not getting married any time soon, and deep down I don't think I expected my dad to live long enough.
Perk up! Here's where the story gets good.
One year later an overweight college graduate, living at home with her parents, feeling like the biggest failure ever had hit rock bottom. And there with a little bit of extra Christmas money she bought a book called "This is Why You're Fat. And how to Stay Thin Forever" Ridiculous maybe, but it worked. It wasn't the book... it was the resolve I had in my inner most being to change my life.
I decided to live. And the most beautiful thing to come from that selfish decision is that my dad decided to live too. It didn't happen right away... but it happened.
A year ago he decided to live and changed his life. It's not just about the weight loss but there is this vibrancy for life in him. We work out at the gym together sometimes, and he is like a kid in a candy store (excuse the metaphor) so excited to be pumping iron. He's got goals and drive and I love it.
A year ago I told him we would do a Father's Day 5K together, something I had dreamt of... and guess what we did yesterday? We didn't finish first, but we didn't finish last. And we did it together.
So, guess what? I tore up my Plan B and threw it away.
My dad's gonna walk his little girl down the aisle. And I will proudly hold his muscled out arm all the way.
And random pictures. ;-)
|I was a cheeze-ball. SO Happy!|
|Always adored him|
|My senior year of high school next to the Homecoming Mural for the Senior Class that my dad helped me with. A tradition of ours.|
|Dancing at my 18th Birthday|
|While I ran the KC half Dad did his first 5K!|
sorry they're so random