You have military heroes.
You have world leader heroes. You have sports heroes.
You have celebrity heroes.
You have all kinds.
I have my Daddy.
He lived in a house with mom and us 3 girls. That’s a lot of estrogen.
For years, he had a “panty drawer”. Why? Because little girls wear panties and when the clothes were washed, dried, and folded, mom would tell us to go put them away.
“Daddy…which drawer is your panty drawer?”
Every Saturday morning, we’d get up and mysteriously, there were donuts on the kitchen cabinet. As I got older, I discovered it was Daddy getting up early bringing back donuts. I then asked him to wake me up so I could go with him, because then I could have him to myself for a little while.
Until I was probably 10 or 11, I’d wake up in the middle of the night and go tap him on the shoulder while he slept. I’d whisper, right in his face, with my no-I-didn’t-brush-my-teeth-before-bed-like-momma-told-me breath:
“Daddy, can I lay by you?”
He worked hard. A brilliant business man. He owned a business with no 401(k) or pension or some kind of retirement thing. He had to plan that all himself.
Yet he was able to retire before 60.
(Thank you, Jesus, for my 401(k) since it seems I can’t save for a drizzly day, much less a rainy day.)
It was a rule that at 14, I was going to work.
At his office.
Dusting shelves. Unpacking boxes. Rearranging things. Vacuuming. Just whatever needed to be done. His employees tolerated me and kept me busy showing me how to work a cash register and greet a customer.
If I was late, my paycheck was docked.
(Some weeks, I owed him.)
I started driving. He would randomly inspect “my” car (that he bought, of course), and the keys would get yanked from my selfish hands and I’d be back on the big, yellow school bus, if:
1. The radio was up too loud (because you can’t hear an ambulance or police car coming)
2. The gas registered less than 1/2 a tank (because if there’s an emergency, the last thing I want you having to do is stop to fill-up)
3. Any sign of cigarettes or alcohol (because you will die by my hands)
I busted right through that third rule.
At 17, I was cool and cruising through my small town with a Bartles and Jaymes strawberry wine cooler tucked right between my legs. With 3 of my girlfriends.
The radio was kinda loud, so I didn’t hear the siren behind me.
Apparently, I busted right through that first rule, too.
(And let’s just top it off…the gas tank was probably on empty.)
I got my first MIP.
Minor in Possession. Of an alcoholic beverage.
(No big deal. I got this. I ain’t telling anybody because I work and make my own money and I’ll just pay the fine myself. Whoop-de-doo.)
Little did I know, Daddy had breakfast every single morning of his going-to-work life with the small town judge at the little local café.
Daddy knew about that MIP before the ink on it dried.
He said nothing.
When it was my day to “appear in court” (which was just a small office with a messy desk and a rather stout Judge Ward with a giant hat on sitting behind that desk), he was asked at breakfast, “So…what do you want me to do with your girl when she comes in today on that MIP?”
Daddy: “Scare THE SHIT out of her.”
When I left the judge’s office, I went straight to Daddy’s office. Crying. Hard. Praying to Jesus. Hard.
I had to tell him I was going to the big house and gonna do hard time and (which in my mind meant a ball and chain around my ankle and a black and white stripe jumpsuit) probably gonna end up on death row because people who drink and drive kill people and that was the life I was headed for.
(Damn, Judge Ward was good.)
He said he’d call the judge and see if there was maybe a fine I could pay instead. Little did I know, he was in on this the whole time.
(Adios next month’s paycheck.) (Good-bye car and don’t ask when you’re getting it back.)
More than 712 times, Daddy has said, “Let Dear ol’Dad, give you some unsolicited advice” then he would proceed with it. And he was always right.
His best unsolicited advice ever: “Never impose your values on others.”
Daddy always stays back in the shadows. He’s always there when we need him, but he let’s us shine in our own light.
Daddy taught me to take up for myself, he taught me to tolerate, he taught me to two-step.
He’s let me fly on my own, and he’s clipped my wings when they needed it.
He’s given advice and he’s let me learn on my own.
But he’s never failed me.
He’s never disappointed me.
He’s never left my side.
He’s never forgotten me.
He’s never not prayed for me.
He’s never not put my needs before his.
He’s extended grace when it wasn’t deserved.
He’s offered a hand when it wasn’t appreciated.
He’s shown me what to look for in a husband and how to love others with grace.
He’s my hero and he’s my Daddy.
And I will always be his little redheaded girl.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
You’ll never know how much I love you.