I can sum up my relationship with my dad with one story. A story that still brings me to tears when I think about it:
May 1st, 2011 was the day of my first full marathon. It was also my dad’s first day at his new job. He had reluctantly broken the news to me that he wouldn’t be able to be there for my race because he couldn’t leave work early on his first day. He wouldn’t get to see me cross the finish line. Understandable, but still heartbreaking. For both of us.
I ran the race, the most difficult run of my entire life. It was below freezing, pouring rain the whole time, extremely windy with thunder and lightning, and it even included bits of hail and freezing rain. I wanted to give up, but I knew that my mom, family, and friends were waiting for me at the finish line. I couldn’t help but think about how sad I was that my dad wouldn’t be there to see me cross. Little did I know what was truly in store for me at the end of that race.
As I approached the finish line, my friends began to chant my name, which sent me into an all-out sprint to the finish. Closer and closer…and I realized what was in front of me. Who, actually. There stood my dad–my daddy–standing on the other side of the finish line with his arms outstretched to me.
Just like I did as a little girl, I ran across the finish line and straight into his arms, sobbing.
He had come through, as he always has in my life. I feared that he wouldn’t be there, but of course he was. Of course. He has been there for every important moment, every celebration, every triumph, as well as every failure, every breakdown, every moment of pain. But here’s the thing: he has loved me just the same throughout all of it.
He has never made me feel like I wasn’t worthy. He has provided nothing but words of encouragement. What he may not always be able to express verbally, he can communicate in a hug. He has held me tightest at my weakest moments, when only he could provide the strength, comfort, and assurance that I needed.
I may be a daddy’s girl, but that is because my dad is responsible for teaching me to love unconditionally. His arms are the safest place in the world, his heart is the biggest heart I’ve ever seen, and his embrace is the warmest there is.
Love you, Daddy. Happy belated Birthday and Happy early Father’s Day!