” Good night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite. Sweet dreams, I love you.”
For as long as I can remember, my father would tuck me into my bed at night and whisper these words in my ear. When I was too old to be tucked in he stood in my doorway and made sure I heard this sweet expression before drifting off to dreamland. Every night he wanted to be certain I knew that his princess was on his mind before he went to sleep. In the mornings he would burst into my room like a cheesy-grinning ray of sunshine and belt out ” RISE AND SHINE AND GREET THE MORNING! RISE AND SHINE AND GREET THE MORNING!!!” I, unlike my father, am not a morning person, so I would twist up my face and feign disgust over this joyous morning display. I would get out of bed only to make him stop, lol, but deep down I knew that my mornings wouldn’t be this wonderful without his production.
From childhood to my adult years, I never doubted how much my daddy cared. The night before he passed away he told me he loved me. Although his body had been drastically altered by the cancer and his words were barely audible, I felt the love and pride he had in me in the deepest part of my soul. I was and always will be my daddy’s girl, so naturally I thought of him as I prepared to celebrate my husband’s first Father’s Day. This was the first time since my daughter was born that I gave myself permission to mourn his passing. It will be 3 years in November, yet at times it feels like yesterday. My heart is so full with the family God has blessed me with, but a part of it was heavy, missing him. If only he could’ve been there to rub my belly as Alexandra grew inside of me. If only he were present to witness the birth of his first grandchild. If only he could look me in my eyes and tell me how beautiful I am as a mom, and what a great job I’ve done so far. If only my baby girl could see her grandpa’s award-winning smile in person. If only…
Alas, he’s not here. He’s in a better place, awaiting my arrival. It was much sooner than I expected, but I’m glad he’s there. I’m glad that just 6 weeks before he died God did something amazing. He gave me the opportunity to witness to my father and he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior! Hallelujah!! I am enveloped with the comfort of knowing his eternity is being spent in Heaven. Until that glorious reunion comes, I am thankful for all my Heavenly Father continues to do for me. I have a step dad with whom I have a wonderful relationship with. A man that was there to humbly pick up the gauntlet and step even more into the role he’d already been doing so well. A man that proudly walked me down the aisle at my wedding and spun me around as we danced to an unforgettable song. Then, of course, there’s my husband. He made me a wife and a mom, and treats me like his queen. He is a man after God’s own heart, and leads and protects our family in a way no one else could.
On Sunday I awoke knowing I had many a reason to rejoice on Father’s Day, and I did so with joy and gladness. God did amazing things that day, and the events that occurred will not be forgotten. My dad will not be forgotten. I will think of him often and share stories of his infectious spirit with my daughter. We will look at pictures and laugh and cry, and I will celebrate the years I spent with my dad. The love a daughter has for her father never fades, and neither will his memory.