It’s Father’s Day weekend. That statement can bring mixed emotions. For me… it’s full of emotions. I was born to a father who would never hold me. A father who died of a drug overdose when I was a year old. But GOD. See… the biological father was just that..a father. Now let me tell you about my daddy. At six weeks old he and my mom picked me up from the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home in Memphis. At 2 they adopted me. I’ve always been a daddy’s girl and if you’ve ever met my daddy…. You see instantly it’s mutual. Growing up my daddy worked hard so my mom could stay home and raise our family. My daddy was the first in his family to graduate high school. He wanted so bad for me to go to college. I’m the first college graduate in my family.
I learned so much from my daddy growing up. His work ethic and attention to detail were just two of the many things. Traits that have served me well during my life.
I remember when I was in sixth grade one night we were eating dinner together as a family like we did most nights. I finished my meal and for the first time in my life got up and looked at the back of my dad’s head, under his hair and on his scalp. I remember seeing a purple circle about the size of a quarter. I showed my mom. We knew it wasn’t good. Thanks to the help of family in Memphis, daddy got into see an oncologist within days. Worst fear confirmed. Aggressive melanoma. The doctor asked my dad “how in the world did you find this on the back of your head”? My daddy answered “my daughter found it”. The doctor said “she saved your life”.
To this day my dad tells that story to anyone who will listen. For me…. It’s full circle. After all, he saved my life first.
In the summer of 2004, Kids to Love was just 6 months old. I talked to foster parents and learned that providing backpacks would be a huge blessing to them as they were getting kids in their care ready to go back to school. So we took it on. The first year it was me and my daddy in our garage. I would anchor the morning and noon news, come home and we would work on backpacks all afternoon. The first year we filled 281 backpacks. I was so proud of that accomplishment! I relished the time I got to spend with my daddy.
There has never been a project in my life that I don’t remember being able to call on my dad and him jump in the car and come and help. Last Christmas with COVID was the first Christmas he and my mom weren’t able to come help due to limited volunteers in our warehouse… and the fact they are now in their eighties and in the high risk category.
When we went home to Tennessee for Christmas, I noticed how my dad was starting to slow down. He turned 84 in January. I just knew I needed to be close to him to help he and mom out in this season of their life.
Last month they moved to Madison. I’m gonna be honest, I love having them close. I love the time they get to spend with the girls, and we have the best time playing cards and just being together. Now that he is here, he’s giving his time to help build our Cottage Community at Davidson Farms.
We took this picture in the Kids to Love warehouse last week. Now, 17 years later, we are still filling backpacks, but we average more than 6,000 backpacks to 4 states: Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi and Georgia. We’ve come a long way baby! But It’s always important to remember where you came from and who helped get you there. Thanks daddy!