When I was three years old, my family and I gathered at my Uncle Brian’s house for a family-get- to-together, and my dad saved my life.
You see Aaliyah Wanyá, at the age of three, was so confident, she trusted her instincts and, and honey, that 3’4 little chocolate drop thought she knew everything! And no one could tell her otherwise! If they tried, she would quickly use her witty three year old words to put them in their place!
Uncle Brian’s pool caught my eye the minute I step foot in his backyard. I strutted my way around the outskirts of the pool and just knew I had to tackle it! Why not? I was a fearless child. Nothing scared me except the boogy man and my grandma’s “you better sit your behind down” stares. But this time grandma wasn’t there to stop me and I just had to see what that water was like! In my eyes, that five feet deep pool was a bigger version of my blow up pool that Mama and Auntie Marcia would set up for those hot summer days.
And there it was. I had made up my mind that I would get in without any hesitation. Mama noticed my anticipation and took me into the pool house to change into my big girl Winnie the Pooh bathing suit. And once she did that, it sealed the deal! I pranced outside towards the pool and just sat on the edge in the three feet side. Playing with my toes in the water, and then it happened…
“Pooh Bear,” (my nickname because of my obsession with Winnie the Pooh) “You know you don’t know how to swim!” My older boy cousin was challenging me. That’s all I need to just push myself in the pool. I’ve always been that person that has to prove everyone wrong when they think I can’t succeed at something. I don’t care how I had to prove it, but my cousin needed to know: He tried me, and BOY I KNOW HOW TO SWIM! ” Uh Huh! I Do Know How To Swim! HOW YOU GONE TELL ME!” I said this with so much attitude and neck rolling, I still dealing with the neck rolling repercussions sixteen years later.
My cousin kept talking smack!
So I started asking my dad to vouch for me. My dad supported anything I did. And he still does. I just knew Daddy would take up for me! And he didn’t! Instead he responded with “Pooh Bear, you know you can’t swim!” Oh really?! Now I really had something to prove! I had to sit and think about it for five minutes. The adults and my cousins continued to talk amongst themselves, I was thinking everyone at this pool party thought that I was WEAK and incapable of tackling this body of water!
Without thinking any further I ran to the middle of the pool, in about four to five feet of water and plunged my little three year old body into that water. No one would doubt me anymore! I was going to show them I knew how to swim…. But I didn’t know how to swim. And I quickly realized that fact once I started gulping down gallons of water. I saw only water smelled water and breathed water. All of a sudden I saw the shadow of my dad jump into the water and he swam and got me. The 10 seconds that felt like a lifetime under water had made everyone at the cookout scared. My pregnant mother was in shock! And couldn’t believe I plunged into the water! Also because she didn’t know how to swim either.
Daddy saved my life. This is the moment I realized my daddy was my hero! He was my superman, my protector! I looked at my dad in a totally different light. Who’s to say I wouldn’t have drowned if he hadn’t acted so fast to save life? My dad has been that superman for years!
The love that a father has for his daughter is something that can never be replaced. And the love that a daughter has for her father is something is as strong as gorilla glue. I don’t think people realize that. A father and daughter relationship is something that runs so deep it’s unexplainable. He is her protector, her first love, her first introduction of what a man is! And my dad has been nothing short of that.
As I grew into my teenage years and even now into adulthood, my dad and I bump heads like nobody’s business! And it always because (as he says) “I want to protect you, does that make me such a bad dad?!”
Well Daddy if you’re reading this, please know that just because you want to protect me, doesn’t make you a bad dad. There is nothing at this point that you can do to make yourself a bad dad, except loving me any less than you do now! I was blessed to be a girl who has a dad in her household. Who raised her and helped mold her into the woman she is today. You didn’t just plant a seed and left it in an alley. But daddy you stayed, and watched your seed grow, and your poured water into the seed when it needed it. You sheltered your blossoming flower from the cats and dogs pissing on it! You have taught me: when I jump off a wall you will be standing with your arms open on the other side. What would I do if I didn’t hear your voice in the back of my head every time I made a decision in college. Thank you daddy for not allowing your flower to wither. Thank you daddy for being there for me when I needed you. Thank you daddy for being my protector and my best friend and just my everything! Thank you for always saving my life!
A Fathered Daughter