Daddy’s Girl.

Years and years ago, I decided that I wanted to marry my Daddy. I waltzed over to him, plopped down in his lap, threw my arms around his neck and adoringly asked him if he would please marry me when I grew up. There aren’t very many little girls that grow up and still hope to marry a man just like their Dad-but I am just such a lucky, grown up little girl. :)

For as long as I can remember, my Dad has made a habit of taking me out on Daddy-daughter dates. What’s funny is that now, years later, I have a difficult time remembering most of what he used to take me to do-…I simply remember being with my Dad.

I remember a conversation that we had as we walked together [probably on the way to a Russian ballet or dinner] on one of our dates. I was about seven at the time, and we were living in Kiev, Ukraine. I vividly remember the rough, gray, cobblestone street on which we were walking-it was fall, and to a little girl it felt I could practically swim through the sea of crunchy, golden leaves that blanketed the ground. Now, something you should understand about my Dad is that he’s the smartest person that I know. That’s not coming from a doting daughter-he’s simply that intelligent. We’re talking about a guy that declared a double major in music and chemical engineering in college-because his giftings are that diverse! He took higher level math courses at the University of Michigan-just for fun. [And consequently, was entirely baffled by the fact that I couldn’t figure out how to divide decimals for the life of me…]

And so the conversation that we had that crisp, Ukrainian fall afternoon is incredibly indicative of who my Dad is and one of the huge roles that he has played in the story of my life. We were walking through the leaves underneath a cluster of birch trees, and Daddy began to explain different kinds of love to me. As the big blue eyes that I got from him progressively widened, he explained the vast differences between agápe, éros, philía, and storgē love. [Yes, in Greek.] I still remember walking beside my Daddy, holding his hand, not understanding most of what he said but confidently believing that because Dad was saying it, it must be awfully important. And so I remembered. I rehearsed those Greek words over and over in my mind that afternoon and as I drifted off to sleep that night-and I never forgot that conversation [or the Greek!]. Now, as an adult, I understand a little bit better why Dad took the time to explain Greek to a seven year old little girl. You see, in a myriad of subtle, varied ways, my Dad has spent my entire life teaching me what love looks like.

One of my earliest memories is of building a sandbox with my Dad in our back yard in breathtaking Vermont. I imagine that he probably had a myriad of things on his to-do list that sunny afternoon as he always does-but he took hours to construct a sandbox with my little brother and I even though at three and four years old, in our eagerness to “help” we grossly slowed down the process. I’ve always known that no matter how demanding his life was, my Dad wasn’t too busy for me. During my sophomore year of college when it felt like my world was rapidly unraveling, this looked something like my Dad immediately dropping what he was doing to talk to me whenever I called-sometimes multiple times a day. Love takes time for you.

I remember on one of our earliest dates, Daddy switched places with me on the sidewalk and explained to me that a gentleman should always be the one to walk closest to traffic, in case a car veered off the road. My Dad would get hit by a car for me any day of the week-and to this day, I notice if a man doesn’t insist on walking on the outside of the sidewalk. Love is joyfully sacrificial.

When I was a much smaller version of myself and this was a much cheaper idea, Dad started buying a rose for every year that I was celebrating on my birthday. Yes, that means that I’m up to a giant bouquet of 24 roses come April 19th! I get roses every February 14th as well. Love is extravagant.

Any time I was home from college-even if it was just two hours for dinner-Dad would run outside and tinker around with my his car to make sure that everything was working correctly. I can’t even be more specific than that because I’ve never so much as checked the air in my tires-that’s a Dad thing. He was determined to do everything in his power to make sure that I was as safe and protected-he always has been. Love always protects.

One of the most unwavering pictures in my life has been sleepily walking downstairs every morning to find my Dad sitting in an overstuffed chair, reading his Bible. He puts vast amounts of time into his walk with Jesus-something that very clearly overflows into all of his other relationships. Love is consistent.

Those are just a few snapshots-it would take an impossible amount of time to detail everything that my Dad has taught me about love. Our dates have evolved into breakfast out, normally-a cinnamon roll and tea for him, and a bagel and caramel latte for me.  I can’t wait to get to go out with my Dad next week! Since I won’t be around this weekend, happy early Father’s Day, Daddy! I love you. :)

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