Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lessons from a Messenger

Today is my father’s birthday. And I came to Tennessee to celebrate with him.

This year, it hit me that in my entire life on Earth I’ve never spent a birthday with my dad – his or mine. And when that realization went from passing random fact to a constant note in my brain, the fact alone annoyed me. As you may recall I was thissss close to spending my birthday this year in Tennessee due to a blizzard that blanketed all of Memphis and its surrounding areas. I remember how happy my dad was at the fact that there was a slight possibility that he would be with me on my life anniversary. And when the lady at the ticket counter worked some miracle to get me on a non-stop flight (first class no less), I saw the flicker of light diminish a little in his eyes. While I was happy to get the hell out (3 cancelled flights in 2 days makes you almost want to strap your ass to the wings of the plane and ride it out), his expression was something that haunted me whenever I thought about it.

So knowing that his birthday was coming up, I decided to board yet another plane this year, and spend some time with my dad to celebrate his life anniversary with him. The timing was perfect. My headaches hadn’t come back (thank goodness). But doctor’s (and friends’) order were that I needed to relax. And spending some time in the South is the slower pace that my body was telling me I needed.

My dad and I lovvvvvvvvve to talk. I can’t count how many times one of us has had the batteries die on our respective phones due to one of our marathon gabfests. I think he’s trying to make up for all of those years where we were so distant. It’s something I marvel at. To hear us on the phone, you would never think I went years without uttering one word to him.
So when he picked me up from the airport, it’s no surprise we easily fell into our rhythm of conversation. Somehow, we brushed on the topic of my dating life – something he NAYVER likes to talk about. He never wants to know who I’m dating, what’s his name, nothing, unless it’s someone who is serious enough about me to get on a plane to Tennessee and have a chat with ‘dear ol’ dad”. So far, no brave takers. But during this particular conversation, my dad said something to me that made me pause.

“Janelle, there is no man, NOT ONE MAN, walking God’s green Earth, who I will ever think is good enough for you. NOT ONE.”

Once the words filled the space of his Mustang (a Shelby to be exact), I silently inhaled these words. Breathed them in and let them nourish me, taking hold within. It wasn’t so much the message. It was the messenger. Don’t get me wrong, I know my dad loves me – he tells me every time we speak. But our relationship has been filled with peaks and valleys. And truth be told, he has never ever said something as powerful to me as the statement above.

This is the day I realized how important fathers are. It's not about my father putting me up on some ridiculously unrealistic pedestal. This is about the standard by which he holds my heart, a higher standard than I have held it at times.

I couldn't help but wonder: How many of the losers I've dated in the past would have gotten past "Hello" if I'd heard this sooner in life??

Happy Birthday to my Mustang loving, joke cracking, Mork & Mindy quoting,horn playing, country twang talking Dad!! You've created my life and have changed my life.

*I started this blog on my dad's birthday and wanted to post it on his day. Sorry for the delay. Back to blogging full speed ahead next week. Smoochies :)


rashad said...

Very nice entry. Shout to dads

Anonymous said...

Wow this blog is worth forwarding to my stepdaughter!

aroundthewaygirl said...

this was very powerful and i can definitely relate. thanks for sharing!