Faster Daddy Faster!

If you want to know where my love of wind in my face began, I think I can tell you the story. I pinpoint it back to one snowy day at our mountain home in Clayton. Some family and friends had made it in before the storm so there were many kids of all ages. I was young enough that time stood still for what seemed to be live-in-the-moment slow motion. The snow was deep, and the asphalt driveway icy slick. The younger kids were too lightweight for the sled, so we rode on plastic saucers that moved like lightning around the curves. For lack of steering we mostly landed in the ditches on either side of the drive with snow filling the saucers, our pockets, and covering our hair. Rarely could we make it to the bottom of the hill before crashing, giggling, into the powder. I remember putting newspaper into our shoes to keep our feet from freezing, then stepping into galoshes to keep the shoes dry. After a collision we looked like abominable snowmen for all the snow we collected on our clothes…and in our galoshes. It took what seemed like an eternity to walk back up the hill only to repeat the whole process again. When the sled came out for the bigger kids we were jealous. I remember wanting to get on that sled so badly.
Dads were overseeing the outside play and moms were inside with the fire and the cocoa. I am sure it was a revolving door of kids in and out, with wet layers spread around the fire and hands cupped around warm mugs. It seemed to me to be heaven. All the cocoa I could drink, friends to play with, and knee deep snow everywhere. What more could a kid want? This winter wonderland was a dream come true.
The dads were at the top of the driveway giving pushes to those on the sled to get them started. I walked over and watched with longing. When the sled came back up I told them it was my turn. I was refused. I continued to watch until my toes felt like icicles. Once, when I thought no one was looking, I jumped on the sled and tried to take off. It didn’t budge because I was too light. I was pulled off, and I guess the disappointment showed on my little face, because my dad stepped over and got on the sled, on his stomach, face first. He told me to get on his back. “Hold on tight around my neck, and don’t let go.” When they pushed us down that hill it felt like I had entered a magical world…just me and my dad, flying like the wind. The cold air was stinging my eyes to tears and my face went numb. My hair was blowing behind me, flowing in the cold rushing air. I felt free and I loved every minute of it. I began to yell in my dad’s ear, “Faster daddy! Faster!”
Dad, on the other hand, was holding on for dear life. We were careening out of control, increasing in speed as he tried to steer around curves to avoid a major crash. He was dragging his toes as hard as possible to try to slow us down. Ice was splintering up onto his glasses causing his vision to be compromised. His rapid breathing was a combination of fear and exertion. I was cutting off his air supply I was holding on so tightly with my arms around his neck. It is a miracle he didn’t have his first heart attack right then and there! Add to all of that my yelling in his ear, urging him to go faster and you can see the picture pretty well.
When we made it to the bottom of the driveway onto the flatter dirt road, we continued for several more yards, until the next farmhouse, before finally coming to a stop. My dad and I rolled off the sled, he, grateful to be alive, me, laughing from the exhilaration of the adrenaline rush. He held me there for a minute, trying to catch his breath which was a fog hovering over us. Soon enough, I was up rushing to get back to the top so we could do it again. He was trudging along, dragging the sled behind him and trying to figure out how to tell me no. By the time we got to the top I was tuckered out…it was a long walk. I think he was grateful to take me inside in front of the fire and rub his hands together until he could feel his fingers again and until his heart reached a regular rhythm.
It is one of my favorite memories of my dad and me. If you ever hear him tell it you will wet your pants as he describes the terror in his humorous story telling way. I on the other hand, love to remember the sense of freedom I felt, and the total trust I felt that my father had me. I never doubted him. I held on tight and soaked up the adventure of being one with my dad, on a sled like that moved like a rocket.
The fact that I remember it all these years later so vividly tells me that it is significant. I think you can see why. I learned to trust my Heavenly Father through being with my earthly one…the thrill of freedom that I could not achieve for myself; the joy of being together on an adventure; the thrill of the danger and the wildness of it; the safety I felt; the fun I had. Only by holding tight to him could I fly.
Happy Father’s Day!
P.S. I am reminded this morning that not everyone had a father. I also am reminded that it is not usually by the choice of the child that the father is gone. Whether it is through a broken family, a death, or just an emotionally absent dad there is much pain associated with this day for many, many people. But there is a God who chose to be described as Father. Actually the term Jesus used is Abba…Daddy. He is that personal of a God, and he loves you like your father should/would/could have. So even if your earthly father didn’t demonstrate unconditional love for you, there is still a daddy who wants to open his arms and hold them there until jump into them. He is trustworthy. He is not going anywhere. He will never leave you or forsake you. Ever. He is not abusive, as some would have you believe. He created you. You are the apple of his eye. His heart flutters when you look his way. He longs to show you what a true father is like so that you too can celebrate Father’s Day.

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