5 o’clock on a summer’s Tuesday morning, stopping by the old farm market for bottles of water and sandwiches wrapped in white paper. Talking, laughing, and singing all the while – 14 years old and on my way to work with Dad. So much of my life is blessed by memories with my father. There’s something about a dad, especially to a daughter. When he’s there, you know no fear. I remember climbing up a tree as a child, the climb up was nothing, but coming back down was frightening. I remember being too afraid of falling to even move from that top branch, until my dad showed up. Standing there at the bottom, he simply said, “jump, Spook!” and so, I jumped. Never did it enter my mind that he might not catch me, not once did fear come to me – just trust. The safety of my own, personal super hero. He can fix anything, be it a car, the house, or me; and I’ve learned so much from him along the way. There’s nothing he cannot do.
So many memories flood my mind, writing these words. Our best day ever – the day we went fishing, just the two of us. Laughing and talking, creating fish tales and memories until the rain (and lightning) came on in a rush. Out in the middle of the lake, and in a metal canoe no less, frantically trying to get to shore – getting soaked through and laughing until we cried. Later that day we planted a ‘borrowed’ father -daughter tree in the rain, throwing mud at each other, making up songs about our tree, acting crazy, and having the best time imaginable.
When I need to laugh, when I need to cry, when I need to know it will all be ok- to you I go. The hardest part of growing up is the day you look at your hero and realize he’s getting older, too. Those enormous hands that held you as a baby, helped you learn to take your first steps, picked you up when you fell off your bike, and later went on to dance you around the room of your wedding and cradled your own child the day he was born; they are starting to show the signs of the years. This is when the fear comes back- the fear that someday, as we all must, he will return to his maker and I’ll be left here without him. Without the keeper of my secrets, the supporter of my dreams, and the super hero I’ve come to rely on so heavily.
That’s the funny thing about life. There is always another side to the coin, another angle to see the rainbow, a silver lining in the storm cloud. For me, that day came when my dad told me I am his hero. His reasons were sweet and completely unexpected. But sitting there – having a talk with my dad- I realized that he will never leave me. For now, I am fortunate to still have him around (and lord knows I plan to spend as much time making new memories as I am blessed to have) although many others are not. But what I realized is this: our lives are molded and made beautiful by the people, memories, and experiences we have. Those will never leave us- those memories, and thereby, the people we love, will always be in our heart. He is a part of me, as I am of him and through my memories he will continue along the path of my life’s journey- step by step, always by my side.
With Father’s Day right around the corner, I hope that you will take a few moments to think back and reflect on the memories you have and times you have shared with your own dad (or father figure). I also hope you’ll spend a little time together, even if it is just over the phone, and perhaps make a new memory. Below, you will see links to some local opportunities for Father’s day fun. Another great option is a family picnic, not only are these always a great time- but this particular year, Father’s Day and International Picnicking Day both fall on Sunday, June 18th. Perhaps this is a sign – a fated plan! Ha! Regardless, I hope that all of you fathers out there have a great day- surrounded by the people you love most and the things that bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart.
Until next time – may every sunrise bring you renewed purpose and ever increasing joy.
10 Ideas from Indianapolis Monthly
Top 10 State Parks in Indiana (great picnicking locations)
** I’d like to invite you all to share a memory, and maybe even a photo, of your father or of your favorite moment together. Please feel free to post and share below! **