Before I had even turned fourteen, I dreamed of being sixteen. I thought that it would be a magical age when all of sudden, a boy would call and my Friday nights would be filled. To prepare me for dating, my parents said that once I turned fourteen I would be allowed to go to the church dances that were held monthly by our home. A live band played and all of my friends would be there, it was a time of fear but also wonderment. I had no idea what it would be like, but I had dreams of what I hoped for.

I remember standing around the dance floor in a new sun dress my mother had made. My clenched hands held the fabric of my dress in hopes that sweaty palms would be dried. And I stood there all night; not one boy asked me to dance. I was crushed but I kept my façade up and never cracked. My brother picked me up afterward and I feigned delight with my first dance experience. Sleep came quickly for I was emotionally spent and wanted to forget.

The next morning, my father caught me sitting on the picnic table on the side of the house. I had been crying, face in my hands. Sensing my seemingly utter despair, he walked toward me, reaching his hands toward mine that were now resting on my knees. He patted my hands with his and asked what was wrong. I weakly said, "Nothing." I was a woman-in-training, so I had that line down. He lifted my chin, looked into my eyes and asked what was wrong once more. I blurted out that I was never going to a dance again, that no one had asked me to dance, and that I thought dances were stupid. Through tears, I told how my heart hurt and how ugly I felt.

With shining eyes, my father put his hands on my cheeks and told me that I would always be the most beautiful girl in the world to him. Every sad thought left me immediately. Immediately. I knew my dad loved me and that someday, a boy would love me, too. My heart stopped hurting and he soon had me laughing with one of his silly songs and lured me into a game of H-O-R-S-E. My dad knew the right thing to say. Umm...,and it isn't always easy to know the right thing to say to a fourteen year old, trust me.

I have remembered that moment often when life has had its way with me or during times when I miss him; he died just two months after 9/11. Not the best year for me, but I am thankful for the resilience and love he taught me. I can honestly say that I never heard him say a bad thing about anyone. He had been a salesman his whole life and he was proud of his profession; probably why I bought his line, hook, line, and sinker. He could sell. Thanks Dad.

Happy Father's Day month to all the Dads!

© by rayannethorn

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Great post! I have one in training right now for my dad and granddad!

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