As a little girl, our Saturday mornings were made of Bojangles biscuit dates and blasting “Hit the Road Jack” in his red pick up truck. It did not matter if we were taking the trash to the dump, picking up Skin’s hot dogs for the family, or visiting a friend in need, my time with my daddy was the best. He always made me feel like that was exactly where he wanted to be, and there was nothing else going on in the world. He hung on every word of my tales, encouraged my belting of a show tune montage, and even played along with me as we made up plans to pack our bags and take our vaudeville act on the road. There is no need to pretend I was not a Daddy’s girl, being the youngest of three and only daughter, but I always knew Dad was in charge. And I liked it this way. His love for me was more than just silliness and spoiling me, he expected respect and obedience. My mother was and still is his queen, and we knew if Mom had to say, “wait till your father gets home” we were not going to be happy campers. Really, though, we were happy campers. Even when my father disciplined us, we never doubted His love for us.
Several years ago, my father’s title shifted from not only “Dad” but to “Employer.” I started working for him in his dental practice. What began as just a job when I relocated back to South Carolina, has turned into one of the greatest joys of my life. I have gained a perspective on the man my father is and how he lives his life that I would have never been able to see. The Daddy who stayed up with me to assist in last minute Science Fair projects, coach me in my very short lived YMCA baseball career, or listen to me bemoan the injustices of being an adolescent, was also the man who had for hours earlier that day performed what I say is just short of a miracle on countless children. Being a pediatric dentist, my father has spent the last thirty years caring for Anderson’s children. He has successfully transformed some of the most dentist phobic children into loving their time in the dental chair. But more than just restoring decay, my father has loved his patients and their families. Whether it is treating a special needs adult with the respect they deserve, having a nonverbal patient utter their first words EVER to him, or being a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen, my father has poured his love on so many. I could tell you about the countless times my father has provided care to those who cannot afford it or how he remembers everything about each of his patients and takes the time to pray for them behind closed doors, but what I really have come to learn is that my earthly father’s love for me is one of the best illustrations God has given me to show His divine love for me, and ALL His children. You see, just like I felt like the only girl in the world when I was with my dad in his truck, my dad has made others feel this same way all day, every day. Love comes in many forms, and this week, I celebrate my earthly father and The Heavenly Father’s love. The all day, every day kind of love. Happy Father’s Day Daddy Daddy, Daddy!
(originally published in The Electric City News, February 2014)