I entered college somewhat naïve in the dating and relationships department. At the tender age of 18, I took people at their word at all times. If a guy told me he liked me and wanted to be with me, well then that was the only story I thought there was. It took me exactly one relationship to learn that wasn’t always the case. My first college boyfriend introduced me to the wonderful world of guys who say one thing and do another. In this particular case, say you want to be in a committed relationship, but really have other plans. Needless to say, I was crushed. My world as I knew it had been turned upside down and my heart had been ripped out and stomped on. I thought I was on a path to true love and instead I got played. I gave this heartache my undivided attention. I cried my eyes out, I lost my appetite, and I walked around in a dazed stupor completely unaware of the world around me. Nothing else in my world mattered. It was serious.
That weekend I had a track meet in Phoenix and the last thing I felt like doing was pouring energy into anything besides moping. I arrived at the track and was sitting by myself under a tree when all of the sudden I saw a man who looked an awful lot like my Dad in the distance. It took me a few seconds to realize that there really couldn’t be anyone else in the world that could pull off my Dad quite so believably and that it was in fact, him.
What was he doing? Why was he here? How did he even know I was going to be there?! Somehow, Dad had gotten word that a man had broken my heart so he drove to Arizona to make sure I knew that I still had a man in my life that loved me. That’s it… Just a big hug with an extra squeeze thrown in. Then he watched me run, hugged me again and told me he loved me, and then drove back to California.
That happened over 12 years ago, but with the hoopla of Father’s Day today, this memory came flooding back with vividness as if it had just happened last week. I can feel myself smiling as I realize it’s him. I can remember him hugging me tightly and holding on just a little bit longer than normal. I can see him in the stands just letting me know he was there. He didn’t say anything but he spoke volumes. Sure, I was going to learn soon enough how to date with one eye open and to be careful who I gave my heart to, but right then I was just a little girl that needed her daddy. Sometimes that’s all it takes.
I’m sharing this memory because I remember it. For me, that’s all I have now. Just memories. Continue to make memories and connect with people while you can. You never know which ones will stick with someone beyond what you realize and mean more than you can imagine.