To My Father on Father’s Day

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I’ve always wondered what the bride and her father say to each other during their first dance.

father

You can almost always see them talking or whispering to each other, but never know what they’re saying. Is it all “Congrats” and “I’m proud of you,” or is it all holding back tears and “I can’t believe this moment is here”?

It always looked like such a bittersweet moment to me. First, you get to dance with your new husband, which is full of hope and love, but then you dance with your father. Then you realize that you’re not a kid anymore. You don’t have to stand on your daddy’s feet to twirl around the dance floor. You’re grown up.

So on my wedding day, I nervously took my father’s hand when Butterfly Kisses began to play over the speakers.

I didn’t know what to say, other than maybe thanks for finding an umbrella.

But we just talked. I forgot we were dancing. We were just talking and swaying in the middle a dance floor with a couple hundred eyes on us.

We talked about the sudden downpour of rain and the beauty of the wedding. Then my father said something that will forever stick with me.

“It wasn’t always easy.”

I told my dad that he was a good father, and he said it wasn’t always easy.

I always assumed when I became a mother that it would be difficult. There would be sleepless nights, a million loads of laundry, and a few hundred migraines along the way. There’d be a huge adjustment to parenting, but eventually you get the hang of it.

But I never thought it hard for my mom and dad. They’re my parents after all. They’ve been doing the whole parenting thing my entire life. They sure make it look easy.

I remember when my dad first taught me how to ride a bike without training wheels. I stood next to my bike at the top of our front yard. Our yard was big, peppered with oak trees, and on a most definitely downward slope. I pictured my bike careening down the hill, over the rock barrier, and hurling me into the middle of the road where I’d be promptly smushed by a car.

But my dad held onto my handlebars and ran next to my bike. I flew with speed, so I didn’t know how he kept up with me, but it was amazing.

My dad is the kind of guy who if you’re making homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookie dough, you give him a spoonful before you pour in the entire bag of chocolate chips. He will let you dig holes in the back yard and fill them with water because you don’t have a pool to play in. He will pretend to walk into walls and hit his head just to make you laugh when you’re crying. He’ll pay you a dollar to eat a cherry tomato, or to try just about any new vegetable.

My dad was always there for us. He would play with us, take us on adventures, walk us all the way to Ice Paradise and buy us Tiger’s Blood snow cones.

I love you, Dad. Thank you for making it all look so easy. Happy Father’s Day!