I was 11 years old, living in South Louisiana. My hair had a wing span wider than a large bird and my pants were tight-rolled. And I lived with my daddy.
The first time I can remember meeting my father I was 9 years old. He had came to the Carolinas to visit and I went to my uncles house to see him. They were boiling crawfish and I tried one for the first time that night. In hindsight-I would have done just about anything my dad asked me to do in order to impress him. He was taller than the pictures led me to believe and his hands....well, they were the largest, strongest hands I had ever seen. I still, to this day, could pick his hands out of a line-up. You see, when your daddy picks you up for the first time you can remember, you seem to memorize everything about him-especially his hands.
Fast-forward a couple of years and I was living with my dad in Houma, LA. It's a little town way in the bayou and I spent two culture-shocking years there. For someone that had never been away from her grandmother or North Carolina, the accent and food rocked my world a bit. It was a couple of years that were definitely a definition of ebb and flow for me. I remember getting saved and my daddy being there to watch me get baptized. I remember my dance recitals and how before I moved there I didn't even know little girls took dance classes. I remember grasping still-even though my daddy was in the same room-looking for some clue of security. I wanted to know that at least every once in a while I was the most important girl in his world. I wanted his full attention. Everything he did was momentous to me. I remember him coming home from a one month stay in Trinidad and bringing me a small round jewelry box. It has flowers on the glass part on top that have flaked away through the years, but the outlines are still there. And when you opened it, it played a song. You see-I believe that this is the first time in my life that my father shopped, picked out, and bought something for me by himself. I imagine him in a little sidewalk shop in Trinidad picking it up and inspecting it-looking to see if it was good enough for his girl.
And so, out of everything in my life, and all the many moves, it has been saved. It has never been put in storage or left in a box for long. It is my prized posession. And today it quit playing. My husband can't figure out why or how to fix it without taking it apart and I wouldn't dare dream of it. And the saddest part? The one that gets me the most? I can't remember the song it played. At all. But maybe-just maybe-this is God's way of ending that song-that chapter of my life that I remember with a few fond memories and the more plentiful sad ones I cling to-and He has started to make me sing a new song. One riddled with memories of weddings and sweaty little boys. Of babies and friends and a renewed relationship with my daddy-one that is set by my terms. Maybe that 20 year old jewelry box can just hold my wedding rings now-or maybe I will ask for a new one and finally pack it away. Quit trying to make it work and accept that it may never play again. Some days it's hard to make adult decisions-to be quite honest. But I know that I know that I know that I know that He is writing a more beautiful song than I could have ever imagined or composed.
Here's to new songs and jewelry boxes.......