Life lessons from an ordinary girl with a lot to say about the life God's given her before and AFTER triple negative breast cancer. I'm pretty much a simple book worm, a wallflower and a nerdy girl who grew up to marry the love of her life, fought the beast and by God's grace raised two amazing young men.
In a nut shell : I'm a wife, a full time working mom, a teacher, a Star Wars geek, comic book nerd, Disney enthusiast, hockey Mom, a decade long breast cancer survivor, and oh let's not forget such a happy, sassy, southern mess!
"No one in this world can love a girl more than her daddy." ~ Unknown
From the moment I was born I was daddy's little girl. In fact my dad was the first father ever allowed inside a birthing room at the hospital I was born at way back in 1973. It was groundbreaking back then. My dad held me even before my mama did. He was the first safe place I ever knew. Right from the start he cradled me inside his arms and in his heart. The fact that I was a girl, and and his only child only seemed to strengthen our bond through the years. My dad, through everything, he's always been there for me. My dad is a man of God, who's shown me His grace, mercy and unconditional love every day of my life. Psalm 103:13 says, "The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him." My dad, never gave me reason to fear him, he's kind, gentle and loving, and yet he is a man to be respected, a soldier, 82 nd airborne strong and green beret tough. My dad introduced me to Jesus by his own example. I never understood the God everyone feared would knock them over with a lightening bolt. Why? Because the Jesus I knew by my dad's example showed compassion, spoke honestly, directly and loved unconditionally. My dad's life is a living illustration of all these characteristics, then and now in my life. And as life expanded, my dad made room under his wings for my husband and our boys, loving them as he loves me...unconditionally. The bond my dad shares with Joshua and Micah is an incredible force to witness honestly. Just as I know my dad loves me unconditionally, fiercely, completely knowing he's willing to lay his own life down for mine his love has grown just as great and as wide for his grandson's and Johnny. I can tell you today, my boys not only respect their Paw Paw, they love him with all their hearts. He is their hero, an example of true faith and unconditional love in it's purest form. I can also tell you my dad is one of the most humble, selfless and giving men you will ever meet. Everything about him echo's self sacrifice. He loves, gives and thinks of himself last, in everything. When I think of my dad, I am reminded of a quote by the great Billy Graham. "A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society."
My dad, he taught me to be absolutely and fully myself. If I was wearing two different colored socks, a mismatched shirt and a skirt, my hair falling out of my pig tails, he'd still tell me how beautiful I was. My dad, spent hours having tea with me, entertaining me and my menagerie of stuffed animals and dolls. He put on goggles, tied a towel around his neck, crawled under and inside my fort made of cushions and blankets and read Wonder Woman comic books to me. My dad, he listened to me sing until I passed out, held my hand, walked with me on top of his shoulders and watched my favorite movie, Dumbo, without sound over and over again beside me as if it was the first time each and every time. It didn't matter how burnt the food was, he ate whatever I made him to the very last crumb, proclaiming it was the best thing he'd ever had. That is my dad, humble, selfless and giving. The reality is because of my dad's belief in me, in spite of my learning disabilities, I grew up understanding I could wear the glass slippers and shatter glass ceilings too. When I look at my dad, I am awe struck. I know I am blessed, and while I know my dad is far from perfect, he was made perfectly to be my dad. Anne Geddes, has it right. When I look at my dad I realize, "Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad."
So as we approach this Father's day, I am reminded of the blessings I have been given in my parents and in the bond I share with my dad, as his daughter and daddy's little girl. At the age of five my dad was deployed to South Korea on what they call a hardship tour, We spent a year apart. I won't lie it was hard, I missed my daddy terribly and I didn't understand why we couldn't go with him. Before he left, my parents and I made our first trip to the Magic Kingdom. It was magical, and I came home with my first stuffed Mickey and a pair of ears with my name embroidered on the back. I still have both. The memory I hold closest though is the ride I took with my dad, inside a flying elephant named Dumbo. I can never forget that day, we soared over top fantasy land together. I could see forever it seemed in those moments. As we flew, I can remember my dad whispering in my ear. It was a quote form Dumbo, going a little something like this." The very things that hold you down are gonna carry you up, up and up Criggy. Fly sweetheart, fly!" And he was right, they have. Diabetes, learning disabilities, cancer, stroke, RA, and everything else in between hasn't ever held me down. No those difficulties have given me wings, and much like Dumbo I haven't just flown, I've soared. Why? Simple, my dad believed in me and just like in the movie I was shown how to fly, to believe in myself and to accept, "what makes you different is also what makes you incredibly special."
This Father's day I just want to say I love you daddy. You're an incredible force behind me, always have and I know you always will be. I know who I am, where I stand and where I'm going because you never stopped believing in me. I know I can fly, and soar in my glass slippers shattering that ceiling above me. "Daddy, in your eyes I've seen God's love; in your words I've heard His wisdom; through your life I've found His grace." And today, the day before Father's day I want you to know I am proud to be yours, to be your little girl. "I love you blue as the sky, as far as the moon, as hot as the sun, as big as a kite, as deep as the ocean, as tall like a tree." Daddy, I want you to know as I close Life Lesson #165 ~ Fly Sweetheart, Fly how grateful I am for the wings you gave me. As Timothy Mouse says, "Just look at 'em. Dumbo. Why, they're poifect wings! The very things that held ya down are gonna carry ya up and up and up!" Thank you daddy, for teaching me to look at my imperfections as perfect wings. Because of you, I have learned not to just fly, but to soar!
"Some people don't believe in heroes but they haven't met my dad." ~ Unknown