Do you remember, Daddy? When I was born, you helped bring me into the world. After cleaning, you snuggled me in a soft white blanket; then placed me in the bassinet next to Mom. I wrapped one of my tiny hands around one of your fingers and held tight. And you held back – an unspoken promise never to let your little girl go.
Since looking up at you that first day, I’ve thought of the many times you’ll hold my hand and help guide me through life.
On stormy nights, you’ll be there holding my hand to keep all the monsters away. Anytime I cry out during the night, you’ll come running. And if you fall asleep on the floor next to me, I won’t mind. Holding onto your hand will be one security blanket I’ll never entirely out grow.
I imagined the first day of kindergarten: you holding my hand as we walk towards the front doors of school. That comfort of your being there will follow me down the hallways, into the classroom, and stay with me until I come back home.
You’ll hold my hand as I cry on your shoulder after my first love breaks up with me. That’s when you’ll remind me who my first true love really was — you. Hearing those words again will make everything better.
I imagined you walking me to my dorm room for the first time and not letting go of my hand. Even though you will try not to — that day we both will cry.
Don’t worry, Daddy. I’ll be safe – you’ll have taught me well during my first 18 years. It’ll be time to start life on my own. Besides, if anything happens and I stumble along the way, I know you’ll be there, holding my hand and picking me up. After all, I’m forever your little girl.
I imagined you holding my hand as we walk down the aisle together — towards the man I’ll spent the rest of my life with. Don’t worry, Daddy. I’ll be much bigger then. You will have been my entire hold onto the world, but those days will be long past. On my wedding day, there will be another hand I can hold onto. When I was born you knew — you hoped — this day would eventually come.
You’ll be there to hold my hand as I hold your first grandbaby. And if I forget to say it then, I will say it now. For all the times in my life you’ve held my hand — to help, to guide, to provide security — thank you for not letting go. I love you.
But for now, Daddy, I’m only a week old. Please let go of my hand. Just for a little while. It will be okay. I know you promised not to when I was born, but it’s time to let go of your little girl.
Other pressing duties you must now attend to.
Mom is asleep and my diaper needs to be changed.
[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, served as a firefighter for more than two decades and has been a weekly columnist since 2001. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org. His books are available at www.RickRyckeley.com.]