A Handful of Memories

I was introduced to a song today. The song is “Daddy’s Hands” by Holly Dunn. Before I go into any detail about the song, I would like to provide you with a little bit of background.

My girlfriend, Lee, lost her father, Jimmy, in 2000 as a result of his battle with cancer. Of the songs played at his funeral, one was “Amazing Grace” and one was “Daddy’s Hands.” Lee and I participated in the Relay for Life event in New Tampa this past weekend. As part of the opening ceremonies for the Relay, a young woman sang “Amazing Grace.” This triggered a slew of memories and emotions in Lee, and she consequently told me about the song “Daddy’s Hands.”

“Daddy’s Hands” is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. The lyrics are just amazing, and in reading them, I hope to have them serve as a benchmark for my life. I see how Lee looks back at the memory of her father with fondness and admiration. I think if Lee were given the opportunity to have written the song, the lyrics would be exactly the same. It’s almost as if this song was written specifically for Jimmy.

This makes me think about the relationship I am fostering with my daughter, and how I want her to someday look back on me in the same way Lee looks back on her dad. I want Natalie’s memories of me to be nothing but positive and memorable. I want her to think of me and smile because of all the happy moments we shared and all the wonderful memories we created together.

I also want the same of my son, Daniel. I know the bond between a father and daughter is different than that of a father and son. So much so that I worry at times that I am taking away from him because I worry so much about my relationship with Natalie. I don’t think I am, but I do know that right now, at their respective ages, I favor more to my little girl. And that’s OK. I am a firm believer in the concept that a woman defines herself based on her relationship with her father. For as much pressure and anxiety as that reality may bring, I accept it and strive to do right by both my kids in all that I do.

“Daddy’s hands weren’t always gentle but I’d come to understand, there was always love in Daddy’s hands”

I hope both my kids will one day hear this song and think, “Yeah. That’s exactly what dad was like.” If I can get them to do that, then I know I’ve done a good job in raising them. Knowing how Lee identifies this song with the memory of her father, I know that Jimmy did a superb job in raising his daughter. It’s strange that I can admire a man I never had the privilege of meeting, but nevertheless I do.

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