I was most definitely a daddy’s girl growing up.
I recall many moments of grace with him. My most immediate memory was at the end of the day when he would return home from work and I would greet him at the door by throwing my small arms around his wonderful legs.
Both my parents were ballroom dancers.
They danced simply for pleasure. Both were truly a graceful site to behold as joy and light filled their union of elegant movement.
Needless to say, both had beautiful bodies. But it was Dad’s legs which evoked a feeling in me, which still remains.
I can’t put in to words what that feeling is, other than to call it grace.
In the eye of the beholder
Most people would simply see it as the feeling of a small child loving their father. But it was so much more than that.
The strength and beauty of those competent, muscular, tanned legs, gave me the sense of his full presence.
Partly because they were at my eye level.
Partly because they were always wearing shorts.
But mainly because they could move with so much strength (as I would watch him build, lift and carry) yet, at the same time, with such elegance and grace.
All these qualities my father possessed I could see in those legs, which for so many years I held in my tiny gaze and embrace.
The invisible force of Dad’s intention
My father came from horse people.
Anyone who’s ever been around this particular breed of person will understand their great appreciation for nature’s gifts of grace.
Dad was born, interestingly, in the year of the horse, and loves and understands horses in the way only horse people do.
Maybe, in his own horsey way, his legs were akin to those of a fine racing horse: strong, fast and graceful.
Either way, he had a very amusing quality which my brother and I enjoyed as children on sport’s days. When Mark or I were in a race, Dad would completely lose himself in cheering us on. We both ran fast. We both often won 1st place for sprinting.
And for me, it was Dad and his cheering that made me want to run all the faster.
An invisible surge would enter me as soon as I would hear him calling, ‘come on chicken, go’, and his cheers would lead me home over the line, as if by magic.
Later, a faster girl appeared on the scene only ever beating me by a hair’s breadth. Dad would say, ‘she just get’s over before you, every time’, sharing my disappointment but never disappointed in me.
He understood her body had longer legs, her mother ran the local Little Athletics and was the sports teacher at my school. He also understood we can’t always win and it’s not about winning anyway. He allowed Mark and me to enjoy the challenge of being our best, whatever that meant.
Being on centre stage
Throughout the years I was a dancer, my whole family attended every concert performance or eisteddfod. Their love and support, and true pleasure in my achievement, made those years some of the happiest of my life.
During those years, Dad’s enthusiasm changed from the simple joy of our union as he would cheer and I would respond, to what I saw was admiration in his eyes. They no longer only possessed lightness but a depth as well, which reached straight from his eyes to my heart.
I would search the audience for my family and would always find Mum first. Her beaming smile filled with excitement, Mark watching on (I always wished he were more a part of it), and then I would see Dad, sort of in the background but so very present.
And then I was ready.
Whichever moment of my life I recall, if it involved Dad, I always had the feeling he was an open space watching me. His eyes validated my existence silently, patiently, admiringly.
The graceful rhythm of love still remains in my heart for daddy’s lovely legs, but his eyes, and what they silently say to me, are a blessing of grace like no other.
So this blessing is for my father:
May all your needs be met with love,
And above all, may you know how very much I love you.
With all the love my heart possesses
Image credit: ILESH