It was just about this time last year that I was praising God in the midst of a storm – my father had a stroke. I was praising Him for the timing of it all – he was where he could get help. I was praising Him for the recovery. And I was praising Him for the reminder that we can not take anything for granted.
We are now coming out of another storm. What should have been a routine surgery, was anything but routine. He died in the recovery room a day after the surgery due to complications and was on life support for two days. I’m writing this within 30 minutes of the nurse removing the ventilator. I can’t think of a better way to share my thoughts about MY DADDY than what I shared last year.
One phrase I can vividly remember my father repeatedly saying to me while growing up is, “A penny for your thoughts.” In my mind, I would reply, “You should be rich by now!” However, I’d always come up with an answer; even if I wasn’t consciously thinking of anything at that moment. His steadfastness with that prompt taught me that whatever I was thinking at any given moment was important to somebody. So, when I’m riding with my kids, I often engage them in conversation just to see what’s going on with them.
One such time, I was in the car with Lil Gal listening to a song and she asked me, “Mom, what are you thinking?” It hit me so hard when she finally got my attention because I was lost in realizing a blessing that God had saw so fit to give my daughter and me – a father’s love. We were listening to a song called “Your Joy” by Chrisette Michele. She’s singing about the joy of the father/daughter relationship. She knows without a doubt that she is her father’s joy and he is her joy from the time she was born up through adulthood. It hit me so hard that by marrying my husband (who is a Godly and loving), I had gifted l Gal Lil Gal with the same gift my mom gave me – a father who loves her unconditionally.
I’ve been so caught up in “being grown” that I’d taken my father’s love for granted. I think she understood it when I explained it to her that this was my most treasured gift to her. I told her not all girls have a father who thinks the world of them and gets up every day to make sure they are okay. Some fathers fail to thank God for the blessings a daughter brings. They don’t raise their girls and they don’t protect their girls. Giving advice to their daughters never crosses their minds because they are wrapped up in self. Well, “Lil Gal,” I said through tears in my eyes, “If I did not do anything else right, I’ve shared a father’s love with you.” She does not get it now, just like I did not get it when I was her age. But I get how precious a gift it is now, especially after a scare we had recently.
My father was picking Lil Gal up from cheer practice to help me out by getting the kids from one place to another. He is not the best texter, so when I received a text saying, “I have at sch. Can talk. Stoke?” I thought he was saying, “I have Taylor at school. Can you talk? Shorty? (that’s my nickname). Unusual at this time of the day, I was near my phone. So, I immediately called him to tease him about the cryptic message. As soon as I heard his voice, I translated the message correctly, “I am at the school. I CAN’T TALK. I’m having a stroke?” The next few moments were some of the hardest moments of my life. The paramedics were called, the school was called, and Lil Gal was protected from running out joyously to Big Papa’s car after practice only to find him struggling for his life. While driving to the hospital, in my deepest moments of fear, I could hear Chrisette Michele’s song, “You’ll always be my father, and I’ll always be your joy.”
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to recount either of these stories without crying. Father’s Day means so much more to me this year. I have two wonderful men in my life who are loving the women in their lives unconditionally and each night that we fall asleep, we know that we are their joy.