I had never driven a 15-passenger van before, and I was so scared to do it myself. I was 25 and working part-time for a church. They had a youth camp that the students were attending, and I needed to drive a 15-passenger van to the campsite. A few days before the trip, I called my dad and asked him if he would join me. He told me that he would. And a few days later—true to his word—my dad left straight from work after a 12+ hour shift, made the 3-hour drive from Houston to Austin, and was with me at the car rental center to pick up the van. I remember feeling so thankful for his sacrifice. He was exhausted and still made me a priority.
This is my dad.
I don’t know what it means to be loved any other way. I know we frequently focus on mothers and what our moms do to raise children, but I feel celebrating fathers is equally essential. There are so many beautiful character traits I have gotten from my dad: my work ethic, sense of humor, and charisma, to name a few.
So, we’re on our way to the campsite, and while driving the van, I’m hesitant to get on the highway. My dad gently nudges me to go ahead. I look at my mirrors and then merge into the lane. “There you go, baby,” he gently encourages me, “you got it.” It brought me back to the days when he first taught me how to drive and told me not to be afraid. “Just get out there and drive, Faitth. Don’t be scared.”
My dad was always trying to get me out of my comfort zone, and whenever I had a big moment, he made it a point to be there to cheer me on. His presence in my life has made a world of difference. Far too often I’ve found myself lost in what I deemed to be my limitations, locked in my tracks by what I think I can’t do. I’ve needed someone who could see my life beyond where it was in the present moment, someone to push me towards my passion and calling. My dad has been that someone. In his words, “Sometimes you need a little push, and Daddy knows when to push you. You are so talented. Don’t limit yourself, Faitth.”
I am my own worst critic. I am the one who oftentimes feels as if I am not enough. I am an overachiever who fails to meet the outlandish expectations that I’ve set for myself, and then I get disappointed and feel defeated when I don’t meet those expectations. But my dad reminds me of my humanity and why I should give myself room to be imperfect and human.
My dad helps me to unlock what I can do.
As we drove along for the 2-hour road trip, we talked a lot—about me working and going to grad school full-time and how much I missed all my family and friends in Houston… Amidst the conversation and in-between our fits of laughter, I pondered his words, “No one is perfect, Faitth—not even you. Just relax and live a little.” He was right. I was drawing on unrealistic expectations that I’d made up. I was lying in a mess I created.
I had a choice to make: I could wallow in shame and continue to self-sabotage, or I could get out of my comfort zone and change my expectations to realistic and attainable goals. I chose to change my expectations for myself and to believe the good words my dad spoke over me. Those moments with him reminded me that I am cared for, that I am loved unconditionally. When I feel a bit helpless and hopeless, I remember there’s a man who will move heaven and earth—and drive 3 hours after a 12-hour shift—just for me.
How have you been impacted by your relationship with your father?Leave a Comment