On this Father’s Day, I want to tell you about my daddy, PawPaw.
My daddy has always been my hero. My first word was “DaDa” and I was a huge Daddy’s-girl. I needed Daddy to lay down with me at night before I could go to sleep. I thought my daddy was so cool because he would tuck his cigarettes between his shirt and shoulder.
Looking back, the thing I admire most about my daddy is this: After he divorced my Mom, there came a time when we weren’t safe living with her. In 1989, at 3 1/2 and 18 months, my daddy got me and Aunt Ma from our mother. No more sleeping in a car in our car seats, drinking evaporated milk because that was the only thing to drink when I was thirsty, no more drugs and alcohol surrounding us, Daddy took us with him to Grandmom and Grandad’s. To this day, I still remember waking up in that car seat and trying to get into the house. All the doors were locked and no one would answer my little knocks. I still remember the taste of evaporated milk, something I can’t stand to drink now. I still remember that first taste of beer that was given to me when I said I was thirsty. Daddy took us from a hard life with no prospects, to a safe haven.
There were vacations every summer. Hot Springs, San Antonio, Galveston, Branson, Chatanooga, to name a few. We were always on the go with Daddy. And when we went places, the sky was the limit to what we could do. I remember the trips to Wal-Mart to stock the cooler up, and the many trips to the hotel ice machines to keep the ice level high.
On Thursday nights, Daddy took us out to eat. On Sunday afternoons, Daddy took us to the store to get snacks. Daddy took us to the Cain Center to swim all the time. We would go to the zoo and Brookshire’s Wildlife Museum regularly.
I wish I knew how many underground caverns Aunt Ma and I have toured with my daddy, and how many historical sites we’ve been to.
While I didn’t have a mom to cheer me on at basketball games, I had a Daddy who was ALWAYS there. From 2nd to 8th grade, my daddy never missed one of my basketball games. He was a constant in the stands with his heavy stadium seat (which almost had to be used as protection at one wild basketball game). Daddy always had a wad of cash ready for the concession stand after the game.
Throughout my life, my daddy has been inspiring. Through ups and downs, Daddy comes out on the other end, smiling.
Not every daddy would always answer the question, “Why?” Not every daddy could raise two young girls. Not every daddy could talk to his pre-teen daughter about PMS. Not every daddy would rescue his daughters from a mother who wouldn’t take care of them right.
Not every daughter has a daddy like me. I know how lucky I am and I hope my daddy knows how much he means to me. My daddy was my first love, and I love him now that I am older and can look back on all the things he’s done for me over the years.
Riley, you’ve got a great PawPaw. He loves you just as much, and probably more. You’re the apple of his eye.