Friday, October 27, 2017

Diving in Love (That's my girl)

Disclaimer: This post is all about my middle child. I'm taking a moment to unfairly lavish her apart from her siblings and I will make no equal time post for the others. Life isn't fair and my kids know that they sometimes just have to deal with it. Having said that, I will also acknowledge that Caleb is an extraordinary mix of Kellie and I, which was forced on him at birth, but he has somehow sifted the best of us to become an incredible young man. I believe in him and am simply happy to the point of stupidity to be his father. Sterling represents everything about my life that is good. She brought life and new beginnings to our family. That girl very well may rule the world.

She was standing there with her hands covering her face. It was the district championship game and for the first time all season long her team was losing in a game. I stood on the opposite side of the fence, feeling the shock of that goal like an unexpected punch in the gut. The girls on the field, the parents in the stand, me on the sideline parallel with my daughter... suddenly we knew we could be beaten.

I watched the tears stream down her face as she carried the pain of her friend. With the varsity goalie out with a concussion, the freshman goalie faced insurmountable odds even though she performed with a heroic effort. The goals she saved were forgotten as the opposing team blasted in 4 perfect kicks. The dream season ended. 

The Anna Rocket Girls Soccer team returns after their only season loss.
I pick Aleks up at the school with a hug and an, "I'm so sorry."

I've heard of falling in love, I've even experienced it. But recently I have found something entirely new. I remember the moment it happened, late this past winter. I remember looking my daughter in the eyes and telling her how much I loved her. I told her that I loved her more than life, that I'd risk everything and anything for her... and I was frightened to know that I fully meant it.

This was more than falling in love. This was a calculated dive into dark waters. I wanted to dive deep and never come back up. I am content to be hopelessly buried here. 

Last year I became dive certified in the Caribbean waters of the eastern coast of Guatemala. We went down about 50 feet and felt the strong pressures and currents of that vast water. It was dangerous and it was incredibly beautiful... and powerful. The love of a father is exactly that. 

It has been beyond amazing this year to see her plucked from her school in Guatemala, landed in this little country town, and absolutely thrive. I have cried prayers of thanksgiving as I see her engage in the church as a volunteer, become a part of the soccer team at her school, and I've even peaked around her doorway to catch her cross-legged in bed reading her Bible. 

She makes me want to be a better man so that she will have a better father. I have never felt so compelled.

Tonight I watched her in anguish as she suffered alongside her friend, the goalie. She mourned not just the loss, but she felt the pain of her friend who felt she'd let down her team. Oh how I wanted to swoop them all up to tell them that they can hold their heads high... they've just given their school the most successful soccer season ever. They've taken home two titles! But tonight is a time to mourn with those who mourn... a time to weep with those who weep... and a time to comfort those who need comforted. 

And for me it is a night to reflect and to give thanks to God for giving me this young woman as a daughter. He made our family to fit together perfectly and he brought us together from across continents. I am so blessed that she is undeniably and fully my daughter. When I look into her eyes, I see the best of life. I even catch a glimpse of God staring back at me... saying, "I love you. I know you. I created you all to be together."

And so tonight I am diving deeper in love, finding beauty and currents and depths that I did not know existed. She sits in her room tonight, working on homework past the midnight hour, feeling the sting of the loss... but I am here in the darkness feeling the euphoria of simply being her dad.

Oh... P.S., Lehman Catholic School... we're coming for you. Enjoy your time off. 

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