This is a tale about a girl and her dad. Not just an ordinary tale, its more of an extraordinary tale. From the moment this dad laid his eyes on this girl he claimed she was his change of life baby. That every moment had stopped when his Tingy Wop graced the world with her presence. From a very young age, this girl was told that the world was hers for the taking if she set her mind to it. Her dad reminded her that she should see people for who they were, not the color of their skin. In the end, skin color didn’t matter at all – we all were human. He taught her valuable lessons on how to be a team player and never make herself into an open book. This dad made sure that this girl respected her elders and strived to reach any and all goals she set her mind to.
Even during those teenage years, this dad reminded his little girl of her worth. He pushed her to never settle for less that what she was worth, while at the same time instilling the strength and faith that she needed to carry on. He molded her and treated her like a princess – at the same time crafting a deep warrior to stand up for herself. The girl made some mistakes with stupid boys and her dad was always there to build her back up. He was quick to say that the guy who deserved her love would prove themselves – and didn’t hesitate to test those of their worthiness.
As she got older and wiser, she beamed with pride at making her dad proud. He continued to push her to be the best she could be and never settle for less. Even the best of tales have endings….this girl had to say goodbye to her dad. Her one hero, her knight in shining armor, but most importantly her daddy. The dad who use to carry her from her parents bedroom every night to her own room after watching The Lion King. The dad who cheered her on at every sporting event and coached her to be better than before. The dad who welcomed every one of her friends as one of his own. The dad who looked her square in the eye and said “you ready” before walking her down the aisle. The dad who called her his little Tingy Wop.
Growing up, my dad encouraged to express myself in any form my heart desired. I enjoyed and loved to write. I started a novel in 10th grade and my dad always wanted me to get it published because he firmly believed it would’ve been a bestseller. Dads. They always know what’s best for you.
My dad passed away this weekend after a battle with cancer that his body was not prepared for. I always thought my daddy was invincible. There would never be a day that I wouldn’t be without him. In the back of my mind, I always knew that he wouldn’t be here forever. The circumstances just didn’t fall in our favor. After graduating with my Masters of Science in Criminology, I had to say goodbye to the man who loved his family more than life itself. A giving man who told me to stand out in a crowd instead of trying to fit in.
One day, I’ll share stories of his amazing legacy with my own children and let them know that they come from greatness.
To end this tale, when I was about 14 years old my dad introduced me to Khalil Gibran and that was our secret to share. It was his opportunity to teach me on how to be fearless and a certain quote sticks out among them all:
“March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move toward perfection. March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life’s path.” -Khalil Gibran
You’re always in my heart daddy. Always.