Seven years ago, my dad took me out to Brother Sebastians for a steak dinner. We had the best time eating lots of food and talking about life. Then we drove around Omaha just for fun, and “practiced” our father/daughter dance for my upcoming wedding. Neither of us are dancers by any means, but we both love instrumental music and song lyrics. “What a Wonderful World” is one of our favorites and the reason we chose that song for the big day. 

That evening was memorable. Dad said that he wanted to take me on one more date and have one final dance before I got married. “Next week, I hand you off after 26 years to the man we’ve prayed for even longer than that,” Dad said. I’ll never forget those words. That meant the world to me. 

Here we are, 7 years later. Dad and I talked on the phone for a little while tonight after a long, tiring, and stressful week. And yes, here I go again, as a lover of words and of memories, to write what he said.

“I’m proud of you, Christine. I’m amazed at the mother you’ve become and how you’ll do anything for those little boys. I’m impressed by how well you know them already. You’ve studied so much about child development, sickness, nutrition, and caring for little ones over the years. You take notes and you advocate with doctors like I’ve never seen. You’re doing a great job even if you ever feel like you aren’t. I know you’re tired, and I know this stuff is really hard for your family. Never get down on yourself for any of this. Tell Zach that I’m always here to help at any hour of the day if he needs. I hope you get some sleep tonight, and I love you!” 

Dad has always been good with words, and sometimes his “big talks” (as I used to call them) seemed a bit exaggerated to me as a child. However, I will never question how much he means every word that he says. He is a deep, realistic, but Godly thinker and giver of advice. He is one of the most caring, soft-hearted people I have ever known. 

So much has changed for my Dad in the last year, and in our lives as the Bailey family. God has been faithful, has protected, and has continued to love our family of now 16 and soon to be 18 this fall. We have all become closer in ways we never expected, but are so thankful for it all. Dad doesn’t know that 7 years ago I wrote about our “last Dad and unmarried daughter date” in my journal, or that I’m writing this tonight. If I talk about how fun that date was, or laugh about the conversation we had right before he walked me down the aisle or during our dance at the reception, he may look off and say, ”I’m not sure I remember right now.” And that is ok. In addition to a memorable phone call, I got to spend time with both of my parents today (without kids). So much comes back when you’re home and you’re the “kid.” It was wonderful.

Miraculously, my dad is still here. He’s present, loves my mom, his children, and his grandchildren dearly, and we still make wonderful memories today, and just like we have for decades. He, among many other reasons, is the reason I write—why I document, blog, capture, and embrace memories with passion and words. Why I started when I was 7 years old, and have written thousands of entries from every stage, joy, heartache and lesson in my life. Why I have journals I’ve written for each of my children and photos for a lifetime. They’re reminders of God’s faithfulness, of his incredible plans he has for each of us, and for the hope he brings each day. 

Dad, you’re the best, and I love you!