A Father's Day story — Good dads never die


. . . we thought our website readers and Facebook colleagues would enjoy this column by Laurie Roberts of azcentral.com in Phoenix.

For all of you with fathers still with you, cherish each day you're together.

For those who have lost their dads, remember and honor their memories.



By Laurie Roberts

She was 4 years old and standing at the end of the diving board, wanting to take that next step but scared even so.

"Jump," he said, as he treaded water below. "I'll catch you."

So she did.

She was 18 and standing amid a pile of pink luggage in her new dorm room, wanting to take that next step but scared even so.

"Go on," he said, as he gave her a hug and headed to the door. "I'm only a phone call away."

So she did.

She was 22 and standing at the back of a church in white lace and satin, wanting to take that next step but scared even so.

"Hold on," he said, as he offered his arm. "I won't let go."

And he didn't.

Not that day and not in all the days and years that followed. Not even now.

Good dads are like that. They are always there, celebrating a daughter and helping her through the hard stuff, making it all seem so simple if you just hold on.

He was there when she accidently burned out the transmission on his car and when she accidently set fire to the garage. (He was also there she accidently took a chunk out of the garage while backing out but he was a tad angry that time, so it doesn't count.)

He was there when she took the bus home from college and wound up in the wrong state. She called him late at night and of course he came for her. Then he turned it into an adventure and never mind the food poisoning he picked up along the way home.

He was there when she was stranded on the freeway, never mentioning the fact that he was at work on the other side of town or that there is such a thing as AAA.

He was there for every scary moment in her life and for every joyous moment and for most of the moments in between.

Then, 10 years ago today, suddenly he wasn't there anymore. There was grief early on, and a fear that the relentless forward march of time would carry us farther and farther apart. The world moves on, after all, and it's painful still that he isn't here to see it.

But 10 years later, here are the things that she has learned.

Mostly, that the best fathers aren't remembered for the big things they do. Instead, it's a lifetime's worth of little things they do together that become the biggest thing of all.

The best moments, it turns out, are the ordinary ones.

His wonder at the blue hibiscus that she grew in the Arizona heat when he never could. His delight in the stories that she wrote and the profession that they shared. The sweetness of an evening walk, arm in arm, talking about anything or sometimes nothing at all. The chance to watch him once she had children of her own, to see once again just how special it is to have a man such as this in a child's life -- even when the child is now a woman.

It's been 10 years since cancer claimed her father, but he still drops by now and then.

She sees him in her sister's smile.

She hears him when she writes something that is particularly good - or particularly bad.

She feels his delight in the tomatoes she tries to grow and his chuckle at the birds that claim every blasted last one of them.

She thinks of him when she sees a hibiscus in bloom or the cut of the mountains he loved against the desert sky at sunset.

Or the sight of any man with a well-loved and oh-so-lucky daughter.

And so she stands here, at the end of a decade without him, blessed and grateful and ready for all the next steps that will come in her life because she knows now what she couldn't possibly have understood 10 years ago -- that a part of him is here still.

Good dads, you see, never really die. They are with you always.

All those years she thought she was wrapping him around her little finger? Turns out he was wrapping himself around her heart.

Last modified: June 15. 2014 3:17AM
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