My most vivid memory of my father, that just thinking about makes me BAWL the ugly cry, is that morning in January of 2003 at 4am when he drove me in the freezing cold (for LA) 40 miles each way, without saying much, to get my things so I could leave my abusive ex once and for all. It was the longest drive ever. But he didn’t make it long. He didn’t really do anything that I remember. But when I think about the 36+ years of memories, THAT is the memory I have that sticks out the most. The one moment I felt like I had the best dad there really was. He wasn’t judging me. He wasn’t lecturing me for falling this far. He didn’t even complain about having to be up so early before work or having to drive so far. He never said a word about the apartment and where we were living until my mom brought it up a few years later. Over and over for years he had promised me when I was ready to leave he would be there for me. I heard him, but I couldn’t leave. I wasn’t ready. But when I was, boy, he didn’t let me down.
My dad loves, me, I know that. But we have our struggles, we still do today and unfortunately, the older I get the worse they seem to get. But of all the baths he gave me, books he read me, stories he told me as he tucked me in at night, or hair he did. Puke and pee he cleaned up in the middle of the night, I don’t ever remember him losing his patience with me. Ever. He never yelled, he never told me I wasn’t behaving. Well, not until the pre-teen and the teenage years, but for the sake of the sentiment of this post I say we skip those years, kay? 😉
I have one of the best dads ever. In a generation where many of my friends dad’s got home late or traveled a lot. Or even were on call all the time, I had a dad that no matter what, he was always there for me. He missed nothing. Not a conference. Not a school show. Not a recital. Not a graduation. Not a doctor’s appointment. Nothing. My dad wanted to be a dad and he, to this moment has never taken that job for granted. The memories are endless, on vacation. In the pool. At the carwash. At his office. When he was teaching me to ride a bike. And when he was introducing me to country music.
The one thing that has helped me survive my life besides my vivid imagination and ability to escape into my own head and thoughts is my love of country music and my true love and adoration for the lyrics. Even as I write this post, ironically, I’m watching previously recorded country music live shows watching some of my current favorites perform. My dad introduced me to Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Willy Nelson, Brooks & Dunn and so many many more over the years without even realizing he did. He wasn’t allowed to play country music with my mom around so when it was just us he’d play it and I grew to love it. It didn’t even occur to either of us until I became as hardcore as a fan as I became in the past 10 years where my love for this started. AND I LOVE THIS. I love that I have such a positive, important thing to ME that I got from HIM. Whether he meant to share it with me like he did plan on sharing his love of the Dodgers or it was just one of those passive things I picked up, I LOVE THAT MY DADDY TAUGHT ME TO LISTEN TO AND LOVE COUNTRY MUSIC. I love that he brought something into my life that brings me so much joy and so much healing on a daily basis.
This post is all over the place and I’m sorry. But the message I hope that you all take away from this (I know I am) is that we never know what it is we are doing that will make the biggest impression on others. Will it be the big trips we take? The expensive gifts? The daily routines? The time we spend? Or something we do out of habit that they notice and embrace?
Thank you Dad for being the best dad you knew how to be. And thank you for coming through like you always said you would. I’m sorry I don’t trust you more, I really should. And more than anything else, thank you for giving me my love of country music. It’s saved my life. It’s made me grow and it helps me to survive. ~ Traci xoxo
P.S. i wanted to post some Tim McGraw, Bob Carlisle & Trace Adkins Daddy & Daughter songs to make you all sob too but I had too many technical difficulties!!! Sorry!