Time to pack our bags and travel to "foreign" soil, except it wasn't so foreign to me. My skin might be different from "the locals," like if I stayed in the sun too long, my freckles would throw a party that couldn't help but turn into a rager with a pink glow left as a memorial, but I was still a native.
It was NEVER easy though....
Packing up, choosing what to take and what to leave behind, and most of all saying good bye....
I remember walking through the airport with a huge lump in my throat, trying desperately not to cry, not to upset everyone else. It is funny what you learn as a little girl. I would make it to the airplane, buckle my seat belt, and then the floods would come. And finally after comfort and hugs from my mom, I would settle in, read my newest book, look out the window, and maybe take a nap.
Wait for my favorite part of the trip....
Making the connection in the "stop over" airport.
For us, that was usually always Miami. So, I would gather up my belongings, strap on my backpack or purse or rolling suitcase, and I was on a mission. A mission to keep up with my dad in the airport.
And my dad was fast.
I think it started when I was about 8 years old.
It was an adventure to see if my little legs could keep up with his long ones.
We would leave Mom and my little sis, Kasi, in the dust, and I would rejoice in my success. Our success.
It's funny how much little girls look up to their daddies. I wanted to be tall and proud and well...let's be real...I was 8....I wanted to be FAST...QUICK...AHEAD of everyone else! It was a game for me, but that game helped me with my homesickness...at least for a little while.
I think I did this so much that as a teenager, I had a friend tell me, "You walk like your dad." And she didn't mean it as an insult or that I walked manly. She said, "You walk with confidence, like you know where you are going."
Yeah. I learned that from my dad.
"Don't let anyone walk all over you."
"You can be anything that you want to be -- don't let ANYONE tell you any different."
"Be aware of your surroundings."
And this one that he didn't so much say in words...but he exuded this in WHO he was...
BE PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE AND WHERE YOU CAME FROM.
NEVER MAKE APOLOGIES FOR BEING YOURSELF.
It is amazing how when the strides you are following are GOOD....the person you become in the process is one who "knows where she is going."
I mean, yeah, life is still scary and making decisions is STILL never easy for me, but I had a dad who said...you can be WHATEVER you want to be...but BE YOU!
And then as a GOOD DAD, there comes the moment when you have to let go, which was never easy for my dad, and probably STILL isn't, but because He was always working to follow in the strides of HIS Heavenly Father, and teaching me the same....he has...slowly but surely given me room and space to BE the girl, the woman, the individual that he believed in for so many years.
Today, on Father's Day, I am thankful for the strides I had to follow.
The strides of strength, character, confidence, and purpose.
The strides of my dad....
The strides of Our FATHER.