Friday, February 1, 2013

Dancing with Our Dads

Sitting on the couch web surfing led me to this TED talk. I love all kinds of TED talks. I'm addicted to them, and sometimes, when I'm dreaming about what my life will look like, I see myself on stage giving one. This talk, my friends, is by far one of the most touching and inspiring I've seen. Grab your tissues and prepare for goosebumps. This is Angela Patton, founder of Camp Diva, a mentoring program for girls in Richmond. I take mentoring very seriously, and I mentor girls in my spare time. Listen as Angela talks about a special dance she and the young ladies in her program put together in celebration of the special bond between fathers and their daughters.
This particular talk resonated with me for so many reasons. Last year, a few days before Christmas, I was sitting next to my dad at the hospital while he had a heart attack. In that moment, I realized just how quickly life can slip from our hands. At the time I was engaged, and the dance that we were supposed to share on my wedding day was on the line. Angela Patton reminded me that I don't have to wait until Father's Day to show him some love, so here are a few of the millions of reasons why he's so special to me.

He never judges me. My father, a pastor and deeply religious man, has a way of never making you feel ashamed about a mistake or a tough decision. He's never judged my major life decisions. He's never judged my hair styles. He'll offer an opinion, but even when I go contrary, he's still there cheering me on.

He never complains. My mom, sister, and I were talking about this one day. We've never heard him complain about getting up and going to work. We've never heard him complain about not having what he needs. We've never heard him complain about going out of his way for us. I'm sure he has inner dialogues with himself, and I've found him in his office, head in his hands, figuring out how he was make things work, but he never complains. I'd like to think that my problem solving nature is a direct reflection of his tenacity and unwillingness to give into hard times.

He's not afraid to be sensitive. He loves us with his whole heart. He built his world around his girls - my mom, my sister, and me. He taught me that men can be strong and that they can cry at the same time. Those things aren't mutually exclusive. There was nothing sweeter than having him marry us as he fought through his tears.

Dad, it's been an honor to have you guide me through this life. It's been a pleasure to be your daughter and to watch you grow over the years. It is my joy to now give back to you. You deserve to reap the benefits of your labor. Dad, I love you infinitely.

So, in honor of Angela, her girls, and their dads, I'll leave you with a short clip of my father-daughter dance.  Yeah, he was cutting a rug. He had me shook! I thank God for the blessing to be out-danced, and I don't take it for granted.

Until next time...

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