I have a great dad. During my growing up years, he did everything that good dads are supposed to do and then some. He provided for our family. He protected us. He teased me and tickled me and threw me high into the air and caught me. He pushed me on the swing, and carried me on his shoulders so I could almost touch the sky.
And he put up with a lot from me, too. If my memory is correct, he spent hours with me in the back yard, teaching me to throw and catch a softball. Hours. Wasted hours, if my current ability to throw or catch is any indication. But he never made me feel clumsy or inadequate. He always said, “Good job, Renae! You’re getting the hang of it!” Thanks, Daddy, for the exaggerated encouragements that made me feel special.
But he wasn’t so generous when it was time for me to learn how to drive. He made me practice for weeks, getting on and off I-45 in Houston. On and off. On and off. I thought I was ready to take my driver’s test, but he refused to let me until he was satisfied I wasn’t going to kill myself or somebody else. It didn’t matter to him that I had passed the written exam with flying colors.
Once, when I nearly hit a mailbox because I was looking at a handsome boy on the other side of the road, he yelled “Criminal! If that mailbox were a person, you could have killed them, and you would be thrown in jail forever!” A little extreme, yes. But I got the message.
So, on and off the freeways we went, in and out of subdivisions, circling through parking lots . . . until I finally passed the Dad test. Looking back, I now understand why Dad’s hair started turning gray in 1984.
Once, I asked to go to a party in high school. My parents didn’t know these people, so they said no. I begged. Dad wouldn’t budge. I pleaded. Nothing. I cried and begged some more, telling them that “everybody” was going to be there, and how in the world was I supposed to make friends at a new school if I didn’t go to parties?
Finally, Dad gave in. He looked at me with those gentle eyes and said, “Okay. I’ll drive you there and pick you up. But if anything makes you uncomfortable, call me immediately.”
“Yes sir, Daddy! Thank you, thank you, thank you!” I kissed him and hugged him and swore I had the best Dad in the world.
He dropped me off. Thirty minutes after arriving at the party, I smelled an odd smell. I noticed a funny, hazy smoke in the air, and some of my “friends” were acting strange, and had a glazed look in their eyes.
I called my Daddy.
He never said a word, just came right away to my rescue. He stopped on the way home and got me a soda.
So today, I want to say thank you. Thanks, Dad, for so many things, too many to list here. Thank you for working two and three jobs so I could go to college. Thank you for standing in the hot sun, directing traffic until your feet were swollen and your back was aching, so I could have what I needed. Thank you for keeping your police uniform on when boys came to pick me up for dates. Thank you for taking me to and picking me up from choir competitions. Thank you for sitting through long choir concerts, where most of the songs were in foreign languages. Thank you for telling me you enjoyed the concert, even though I knew the truth.
Thank you for always loving me, for always being there, for always making me feel special and important. I am blessed, indeed.
Isaiah 63:16 “You, O Lord, are our Father . . .”