Saturday, June 18, 2016

Father's Day: If I Could Say Three Things to My Father

To honor his father, Luther Vandross (2003) along with Richard Marx wrote “Dance With My Father.”

My dad and me when he gave me away at my wedding in 1981
Back when I was a child, before life removed all the innocence
My father would lift me high and dance with my mother and me and then
Spin me around ‘til I fell asleep
Then up the stairs he would carry me
And I knew for sure I was loved
If I could get another chance, another walk, another dance with him
I’d play a song that would never, ever end
How I’d love, love, love
To dance with my father again

I thought about the excerpt from the lyrics, and if I had another chance, I would say three things to my father:
                I love you
                Thank you
                Happy Father’s Day

      When I was growing up, my family did not spontaneously say, “I love you.” We just knew in our hearts that we loved each other. My siblings and I knew it because our parents showed us how much they loved us with their I’m-proud-of-you smiles, I-cherish-you eyes, and I-adore-you scoot overs when one-by-one the four of us would squeeze into their full size bed, making the total six by morning. We never doubted we were loved. Their actions spoke louder than their words. But if I could say three more things to my father, one of them would be, “Daddy, I love you.”

      Daddy would take us to parks, ball games, drive-in movies, and on vacations. A simple drive through downtown Detroit and the Riverfront would be the pinnacle of our day after the four of us competed to see which two would lay claim to a seat by the window in our Buick. We bellowed, “I’ve got the window!” each time we knew we were going for a drive in the car. We had loving parents, a warm home, full bellies, and mouths overflowing with laughter. Yes, we were rich—rich in love. It was not until we were older that my siblings and I realized our parents struggled to give us what we needed and what we wanted. We now laugh at our epiphany: we were not literally rich. We only felt rich because of the love our family shared. But if I could say three more things to my father, one of them would be, “Daddy, thank you for making me feel rich.”

      Father’s Day is a day we dedicate to honor fathers for what they mean to us and for what they do for us. No one is perfect; everyone has flaws. Several years ago, when I was shopping, a beautiful leather handbag caught my eye. When I picked it up, I noticed a tag dangling from the handle. It explained that because the handbag was made out of real leather, natural imperfections existed, but these imperfections contributed to its beauty. Fathers also have natural imperfections; however, we can still appreciate who they are overall. 

      Jarbas Agnelli looked at a photograph taken by Paulo Pinto--a simple photograph of birds sitting on wires. He saw the birds as music notes, and he saw the wires as the lines on a sheet of music. Then Jarbas turned this into a musical arrangement.

      Jarbas Agnelli, September 6, 2009

      Consider the beautiful moments you've had with your father--whether they are few or many. See him with the eyes of your soul. Look at these moments as birds on the wires waiting for you to create his special song. If I could say three more things to my father, one of them would be, “Daddy, Happy Father’s Day. I honor you for the beautiful moments--the birds on the wires--from which I was able to create your song.”

      Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers.

      What three things would you say to your father? This is the story in you. Share it.


      Agnelli, J. (September 6, 2009). Birds on a wire. Retreved from
      Vandross, L. (November 27, 2012). Dance with my father. Retrieved from

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