I was a blessed child. My father and I have always shared a connection that went deeper than the distances between us. I always knew he passed on a bit of his spirit to me, and he understood me even if he didn't agree with me. Knowing he understood was most important anyway.
Like my dad, I don't care much for boxes or settling for second best or doing anything simply because it's "supposed" to be that way. And though he hasn't always liked where my passions have led me (Africa is quite far, after all), my father has always encouraged me to follow my dreams (after I finished college, that is :)). He knows life is too short to live for normal. I have tears even now as I think about his overwhelming support of us here in the bush of Africa, even though it means he must live these years apart from me...and now his son-in-law and grandkids. Somehow he understands. And that makes me miss him even more. Though distance has separated us for most of my life, I have never lived farther away than now. Africa is much farther than the East coast is from the West coast. Airplanes only offer relief every couple of years. You have no idea how ready I am for one of his hugs!
Dad hugs are the absolute best. Within that embrace is a feeling of security and acceptance like none other. It offers a chance to see the world through a much clearer lens: Worries become fleeting shadows. Heartbreaks heal. Life is restored. Joy returns. All is well.
Even though I am at the brink of 30, Dad hugs remain one of my favorite things in this big world.
So, Dad, Happy Fathers' Day. We'll be seeing each other again soon enough. I'll be getting that hug in a few short months! But until then, I hope you know you have given me the best gift a girl could wish for: love, acceptance, confidence, security, and inspiration.
Dad, me, Ava and Tai in 2009