She was 4 years old and standing at the end of the diving board, wanting to take that next step but scared even so.
“Jump,” he said, as he treaded water below. “I’ll catch you.”
So she did.
She was 18 and standing amid a pile of pink luggage in her new dorm room, wanting to take that next step but scared even so.
“Go on,” he said, as he gave her a hug and headed to the door. “I’m only a phone call away.”
So she did.
She was 22 and standing at the back of a church in white lace and satin, wanting to take that next step but scared even so.
“Hold on,” he said, as he offered his arm. “I won’t let go.”
And he didn’t.
Not that day and not in all the days and years that followed. Not even now.
Good dads are like that. They are always there, celebrating a daughter and helping her through the hard stuff, making it all seem so simple if you just hold on.
He was there when she accidently burned out the transmission on his car and when she accidently set fire to the garage. (He was also there she accidently took a chunk out of the garage while backing out but he was a tad angry that time, so it doesn’t count.)
He was there when she took the bus home from college and wound up in the wrong state. She called him late at night and of course he came for her. Then he turned it into an adventure and never mind the food poisoning he picked up along the way home.
He was there when she was stranded on the freeway, never mentioning the fact that he was at work on the other side of town or that there is such a thing as AAA.
He was there for every scary moment in her life and for every joyous moment and for most of the moments in between.
Then, 10 years ago today, suddenly he wasn’t there anymore. There was grief early on, and a fear that the relentless forward march of time would carry us farther and farther apart. The world moves on, after all, and it’s painful still that he isn’t here to see it.
But 10 years later, here are the things that she has learned.