Sunday, June 17, 2012

butterfly kisses

I can't remember how old I was the first time we sang it.

All I remember was that we would sing it every Father's Day, my dad and I.
Butterfly Kisses.

I also remember thinking it was our song. I remember people at church always asking when we would sing it again, and telling me how beautifully I sang. I remember loving every moment of being on stage with my dad, because he and my mom were the best singers I knew.
Dad has always been a passionate, animated, and loving man. His presence on stage and as a speaker have always blown me away.
And he definitely spoiled me.
He used to tell me that my shoulder blades were the stubs left behind from my angel wings.
I believed him.

That songs still gives me goosebumps, and brings tears to my eyes. I can hear my dad singing it, and I would give anything to have a recording of that first time, when I was so little.

I remember the way our church smelled, and the way it felt to be in there before everyone else, practicing together. I remember the bliss of being young, living only in happiness and play.
When the bridge of the song would come up, right before the beginning of the verse "Sweet 16 today", there was a little section that echoed "spread your wings and fly."
When I was young, I would flap my little arms and go down the steps to sit in the front row, and dad would finish the song alone. Since the next part was about being 16 and then getting married, it didn't really apply to me.

But I remember that first time I was able to stay for the whole song. Boy oh boy, it was a big step.
I felt really grown up, and I also felt a little scared and sad. I think dad did too, because it was making us both cry.

When Dusty and I got engaged in the Powerscourt gardens in Enniskerry, Ireland, my family was waiting inside, safe from the wind and rain.
They were watching through the windows.

Powerscourt Estate Gardens
The proposal begins...

Coming in from the wind and rain and with the elation of the moment, I came into a warm embrace from dad.

He leaned down and whispered, "There are two things I know for sure. You were sent here from heaven, and you'll always be daddy's little girl."

Crying as I write this, it was one of the most special moments of my life. Years and years of memories and happy father-daughter dates and sweet moments were wrapped up in that moment.

One year and two days later, Dusty and I got married.
My dad spoke beautiful words in the ceremony and at the reception, loving on us and blessing us.
He walked me down the the same church he married my mother, in the same church we had sang Butterfly Kisses so many times before.

"Walk me down the aisle daddy, it's just about time!"

Such a beautiful moment, one which I could not contain my tears from.
As soon as those big doors opened, I was lost. Dad had to keep pulling my arm back, trying to have me slow down and enjoy the moment. My face was distorted in tears, and all I could keep thinking was, "I have to hurry or I won't get through this!"

At the reception, we walked out to the dance floor to dance to our lifelong theme song.
"Butterfly Kisses" played, and we cried, and he was sweet and wonderful. I love my daddy.
I'm so glad we danced to this song, because I never would have made through singing it.

I love my family.
I am so thankful for a mom and dad that have raised me in the ways of the Lord, to love and to laugh and to experience and learn all that I can.
I'm so thankful for my humor and silliness that I have inherited from parents who love to laugh.

Singing at Johnny Fox's pub in Ireland.
Dad's 60th birthday party!

I am thankful for the many, many memories of travel and adventure and story-telling and laughter and family and friends and so much more.

While I don't have current access to our many childhood pictures or photos of dad and I when I was a little girl, I have all of those memories locked up tight in my reservoir.

When Dusty and I started dating, I would save his texts and notes, and mom would always call that my love bank.
I think the development of words of affirmation as my love language began from my parents constant output of positive encouragement and edification to who I was.
I have all of those tucked away in a special place inside of me.
When I was in High School, my dad would tuck little sticky notes inside of my lunch box. "You rock!" and "You're beautiful" and "Have a groovy day" and so many more little nuggets of love.
I owe so much to my loving family. The more and more days that go by, the more I realize that I have been raised by two wonderful people, by God's design.

Thank you, to both of you.
And thanks to you dad, as today we celebrate you as a father. Thanks for raising a beautiful family with our beautiful mother, and for continuing to love us and pray for us together.
We are so lucky.

In love,

1 comment:

  1. Caitlin, I just read this, and now I'm crying at work, which is rather awkward. Love you so much.