I spoke at the Kappa Delta Sorority at Georgia Southern University last week. I was there to present its members with a $1,000 check for having the most participants in the True Blue 5K, sponsored by the Abbie DeLoach Foundation and Abbie’s Adventure Race, which was held virtually in 2020 in partnership with Georgia Southern University Campus Recreation and Intramurals.
I met with 12 or so members of the leadership team at the sorority house, and approximately 50 other members joined us on Zoom. Needless to say, it was different from any meeting I had ever attended.
As I looked into the eyes of the 18- to 22-year-old young ladies in attendance, all I could think about was my own two girls, Abbie and Annie. There is no bond greater than the love a father has for his girls. We want to protect them and hold them in our arms as long as we can, but life seems to just get away from us and go faster with time.
Here’s a poem that expresses how it’s felt for me to be a dad (author unknown).
He was always my pillar when I knew I’d fall
Always my anchor so strong and tall.
His hard face changes only for me.
His softer side, so careless and free.
He knows my dreams are too big for this place.
His little girl’s leaving, ready to begin her race.
He knows I’ll be thinking of him wherever I go.
I know I’m ready to do this on my own,
But still I cry and he holds me tight,
He tries to be strong, not a tear in sight.
I’m ready to reach for the stars in the sky.
He’s ready to watch his princess fly.
It’s time to let go, sure of a path to take,
But now I know, even pillars can break.
For when I drive away, trying to stifle my cries,
All I could see were tears in my father’s eyes
There is so much I treasure about watching my girls grow up: celebrating their birthdays, attending their basketball games, taking them to church, seeing them drive a car for the first time, watching each of them go out on a first date with a young man, being there when their heart hurt because of what someone said to them, talking with them about school and boys, staying awake until midnight to be sure they got home safely, listening to them as their girlfriends spent the night and ate all the pizza, and hearing them say “I love you, Daddy.”
I cannot think of anything in life that is more important than these moments.
As hard as it is to let go, and allow our kids to pursue their dreams and live their own lives, it’s something we must do as parents. And, all the while, we hold them in our hearts and pray for their safety and well-being.