This day, 14 years ago, I hugged my dad for the last time. No it wasnt this picture but this is how I will choose to remember him.
That painfully floral shirt because “when in miami” was his reason. Those arms that held me so tightly as I cried. I felt so very low due to exhaustion, effort, adrenaline from competition and, later we would learn, food poisoning. But he held me and told me how proud he was. I would never say he was “my biggest cheerleader” because my mama holds that title. But I can say with confidence he was my loudest cheerleader.
Fun fact: in the recording of my first prelim title, his boisterous tenor tone can be heard belting “there she is” in a silent room as my crown was pinned
I will never know if he was nervous for me on comp day. In my mind, he never knew what nervous was. He was eternally assured of his ability to make the show go on. In fact it was his confidence that kept me strong on the day pictured here. It was his confidence that literally carried me across the stage in evening gown competition the next day, as he escorted me on stage.
And it was his unwaivering faith that carried me on January 11, 2008. “Baby girl, if you believe the things I have taught you, then you know where I am going. So stop crying. Its ok. Im going home.”
He left the way he lived, confident that his show would go on just with heavenly robes in the presence of the Almighty.
I pray my children and my clients feel his confidence thru me. I pray they see his example in me. I pray I can impart the same resolve in each of them that will carry them thru any competition, any exam, any job, any challenge they face.