His hands tell the story—those thick fingers and wrinkles and scars, and especially the calluses speak to me. Remind. Of just how remarkable my Daddy is—just how huge is his heart.
Daddy’s always used those hands for the helping and the healing all the same; they are, and always have been, an intricate part of meeting the needs. If the boiler was broken or the faucet was acting up, it was those hands that coaxed the heat and water back to life. If the car oil needed changing, it was his hands that would stroke all the lugs and bolts and hold the pan that caught the crude. Little kids—whether familiar or strangers to our driveway—could always count on those hands to fix a flat or an errant set of brakes. Always, he’d do these things with that laugh. Deep. Strong. Loud as thunder.
I live(d) for that laugh, and always count(ed) on those hands. I’d hold them—so much bigger than mine, they were. I never wanted mine to grow; they folded so perfectly into his palms while we strolled through the mall, knocking back strawberry ice cream cones and handing over checks to pay off the Macy’s and Sears bills, and picking up tools and man stuff for the shed in the backyard. I lived for Fridays, Daddy’s day off. Best believe, riding shotgun in his Eldorado was where it was at.
It was our time.
And I watched his hands—waited for them to give me the lessons. They weren’t always obvious, but they never disappointed, this much I know. From them I learned honor and trust and patience—responsibility and truth and appreciation. Hard work. Selflessness. Struggle.
I looked for and found these things in my man’s hands—each and every one. Not saying that I was looking to marry my father, no ma’am. Or even that Nick’s hands are wrinkled and calloused and scarred. They are the opposite, in fact—long and lean and refined and soft to the touch. Still, they hold the same passion as Daddy’s; they help and fix and preach in different ways, but help and fix and preach all the same. And they teach my girls the lessons—that there is honor in being helpful and smart and honorable and willing to dig in.
I picked well.
I guess I have Daddy to thank for that, too.
These days, my hands don’t tuck into his like they did when I was little, but I still hold Daddy’s hands all the same. Every wrinkle, every callus still tells a story. The strength of his 75 years.
And I welcome them—embrace them.
Melt into them.
Forever Daddy’s little girl.
This post was written exclusively for The Parenting Post in honor of my father, James Millner, Jr.—my hero and my heart. It was inspired by Chrisette Michele's breathtakingly beautiful song, "Your Joy" (embeded below), which, even at three years after its release on Chrisette's debut album, still makes me teary. Happy Father's Day, Daddy! And Happy Father's Day to Nick, Papa Chikuyu, James, and all the other fathers doing right by their kids and loving them strong. We appreciate you.
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