As far back as I can remember, my Dad's strong arms carried me as a child. When I got 'too big' to be carried we held hands -- only his hands were so large compared to mine that I just grasped one of his fingers as we walked. I was such a big girl!
I am 3 1/2. My family is camping and it is so early that it is still dark outside. Dad takes me fishing and on the way back to camp we stop at a diner for breakfast. He gets coffee and I get to put a teaspoon of his coffee with my milk. We walk along the dam where people are fishing and he holds my hand to make sure I don't fall. The smell of coffee and the early morning sun is intoxicating. I look up at him and his silhouette in the sunrise is dazzling. He squeezes my hand. I am the luckiest girl alive.
I am in high school and being honored and escorted with my father. Years later I look back at the video and he is beaming so big looking at me that he doesn't even know which way to walk. He thinks he is proud but I am even prouder. He is holding my hand, arm in arm, as the video footage rolls.
I am sick. I am so sick I am not sure what is going on. The only thing I can be sure of is the warmth of my father's hands before I am wheeled into surgery. He tells me he loves me and even though I can't speak I am telling him I love him too.
I am a single Mom bringing my son home for the first time. We were in the hospital for a week and we were both not completely well. I unbuckle my son's carseat and as I start to step out of the car the hands that are offered to me are those same hands I have seen my whole life when I have stumbled. Again, the video shows Dad making sure I am in step but now it is his with daughter and his grandson.
My son is 9 months old and toddling around. Anytime I am at my parents house I can hear 2 claps and my son's name being called. My Dad is getting my son to walk. Pretty soon, those strong hands are holding my son's.
I am in the foyer of the church. I am nervous. I am about to make one of the biggest commitments of my life. I look down at my hands and the flowers that they hold and that's when I feel the large hand cupping mine. I look up into the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen. I walk down the aisle with my Dad on my wedding day.
Living nearby, my sons get to see my Dad quite often. There is nothing like those long walks with Papaw. There can't possibly be happier moments for grandsons than this. I watch as they walk off hand in hand into the horizon.
I have a broken heart. I think nothing will ever feel the same. I can't eat or drink or sleep. I am with my parents and my Dad holds me so tight I can't breathe but I don't even care. I know I am safe then. He holds my hands and I know I will be okay.
Many happy years pass and we are thankful for them all.
I hold those strong hands and they are now smooth, no longer worn with work and daily chores. They are tender and somehow don't seem quite as big in my own as they once did. He is tired. He is weak. He is sick.
I walk hand in hand with my Dad into the doctor's offices and then later just to get him to and from the bed.
Yesterday, I took my Dad for a walk in his wheelchair. It was about 2 in the afternoon and as we walked I could see our shadows. Father and daughter walking along the street. I stopped and took his hands as I faced him. He smiled back. He can barely speak but he squeezes my hand and pats me.
Last night the ambulance came and took him to the hospital where he is today. I held my Dad's hand as he cringed in pain. These hands that have taken care of me my whole life now go limp with the effects of medication. I still hold his hands. His beautiful beautiful blue eyes are glazed over with pain and confusion.
I now realize that even my Dad needs bigger hands to hold his in a time of need. There's nothing else I can do. I have never felt so helpless. I am putting my Dad into my heavenly father's hands.
Please remember my Dad today....