As a little girl, my mom always made a point of getting us excited when Daddy would come home. Soon, we were excited without any encouragement from mom. The sound of Daddy's car pulling in the driveway was the signal for a daily ritual that continued for years. If I heard him soon enough, I would bolt out the front door, run to the driveway and leap into his arms. He would then flip me around backwards while holding my hands, and I would sail to the ground, landing on my feet in what I believed to be true gymnast fashion. Then I would spring up to a standing position, and throw my hands in the air with a "Ta-da!"
If Daddy made it inside the house before I heard him coming, this same run, jump, and flip would take place in the living room. I loved our daily flip, my chance to be the gymnast I was sure I really was. But mostly, I just loved that Dad was home. When I think of my childhood, one of the strongest emotional impressions left on my mind is how much I loved my dad. He nurtured that love and made it grow.
I can remember him being proud of me, enjoying the girl that I was. During field day in the third grade, I jumped over six feet in the standing broad jump, and that just thrilled my dad. I won the blue ribbon for the girls in my grade, jumping even farther than most of the boys, and he got the biggest kick out it. He loved that I was this powerhouse of a nine-year-old girl, and I was so pleased that he was there to celebrate with me.
What is neat though, is that 22 years later, I see him get that same pleasure out of my children. He delights in who they are. Dad has always been thoroughly entertained by Joey's zest and excitement. He has always said Joey has "no lack of enthusiasm." And as he watches Katie go about in her rough and tumble way, her adventurous spirit brings him all sorts of smiles and laughs. Watching my children love my dad, and seeing my dad love my children, has grown a whole new aspect of love in my heart for my dad.
And how sweet is it to see Katie run over to him, wrap her arms around his legs, and ask for a flip. He picks her up, and together they perform the same acrobatic display of love, that I shared with Dad so many years ago. She doesn't always stick the landing, but she has a great "Ta-da!"
I love you, Dad. Happy Father's Day!