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Fathers and Daughters

Recently I took a day away from work and spent it with my oldest daughter, Ally. She’s awesome and I love her and I wanted to spend some time with just her. To get her excited about my plan, I told her we could do whatever she wanted. Big mistake. She chose to go to the indoor trampoline park that just opened in Winston. Great. When I bounce on things it makes me want to throw up. I’ve felt that way ever since I pogo sticked over a cliff when I was a kid.

Off we went. I knew we were in trouble when I had to sign a 4 page release form that said something like: “AirBound will not be held liable in the event of an act of God or uncontrolled bowel release”. Apparently if God suddenly made my bowels release while I was jumping, there’s no one I could sue. Wonderful.

The first station we went to was the “pit of death”. It goes like this: You jump as high as you can off a trampoline into a pit filled with thousands of pieces of foam designed to cushion your fall. Ally gracefully did a double front flip into the pit and as she landed she was gently embraced by the foam. When my turn came, I jumped super high (like 2 feet high) and tried to do a front flip. By an act of God, half way around my momentum stopped and I face dived into the pit.  Foam swarmed my mouth. It tasted like #$%^. The poor dude making minimum wage running this station jumped into the pit to see if I was okay. I told him “I meant to do that” and crawled out. Ally had a look on her face that said, “Please, God, let me be adopted”.

Next we went to the dodge ball section. I was the oldest person wanting to play. By far. By really far. Sweet. Easier for me to be the champion. I played my cards right and hid in the back, crouching behind a group of 5 year olds celebrating a birthday party. When I thought there were only two of us left, I made my move to the front. Like an astronaut, I flew through the air and then whipped my ball at their last team member. Direct hit. I was the champion! I bounced again, throwing my arms in the air in victory. And that’s when it hit me. A ball in the crotch from a hidden 7 year old with an arm like Cam Newton. I tumbled to the ground face first and writhed in pain. The 7 old, basking in what should have been my victory, yelled, “Get off the court, Grandpa”. I whimpered, “I meant to do that” and slithered away.  Ally’s prayers for adoption grew more fervent.

After only 15 minutes I was exhausted, I couldn’t walk right, my face was killing me, and I was the object of pity from little kids. I was ready to leave. But then I saw Ally having a great time. And laughing. And saying it was one of the best days of her life. And I got to share that with her. So I guess, really, it was one of the best days of my life, too.

I wish I were better at remembering this lesson: there is nothing more important, other than loving God, than spending quality time with those we love. And I guess when it comes right down to it, when we spend time actively loving those God has brought into our lives, we are really loving God too.

So forgive me if I cut this blog short. I need to turn off the computer and go hug my daughter.

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