It’s a Celebration: Talisa is Sixteen
Today Talisa turns sixteen years old. Where did the time go? As we reminisce over the last sixteen years, I’m thankful for so much. Mostly I am thankful for the special relationship that Michael shares with Talisa.
Few fathers understand how to be a dad to a daughter in the different phases of her life. Michael was raised in a very conservative family who believed that wearing dresses, amongst other patriarchal ideas, was how a women showed her dignity. The focus of what made a strong, courageous woman was placed on all the physical aspects of being a woman, and not on what counted….a woman’s heart, mind and soul.
Far from his conservative upbringing, Michael has raised his daughters with the freedom to express themselves and with the confidence in knowing that nothing they do will ever change his love and commitment to them. They are his greatest delight and his deepest heartache as he mourns silently all that Savannah will not experience in her life as a woman with a disability.
From the softness he shows his daughters in so many ways; to indulging their musical tastes; to patiently waiting outside change-rooms while they try on clothing or can’t decide what colour blusher to buy; to waiting while they take over the mirror in our bathroom; to accepting that he will buy hair bands and lip glosses far too often; to sitting up at night until Talisa completes her homework: Michaels’ heart has completely been flooded by being a father to his daughters.
When a girl child is honoured and respected by her father; when she is made to feel capable, and still has a safe place with her dad to be vulnerable; she becomes the most remarkable gift he can ever give the world. A women who is whole.
Today as we celebrate Talisa’s sixteenth birthday, I am so emotional remembering the day she was born. I remember looking at her in my arms and telling Michael that he need only remember two things about raising a daughter:
The first is that you are guaranteed (for the most part) the first eighteen years with them until they become independent. That means only eighteen Christmas mornings when your children are all yours. To me if an average lifespan is seventy years then eighteen seemed like just a drop in our entire lives. So Michael and I agreed to do our best to make those eighteen years as amazing as possible.
Eighteen years where we will hold every moment with tenderness and gratitude before it slips away.
The second piece of revelation or advice if you will, that I gave Michael was don’t ever, ever let your daughters down. Never. Daughters will need their fathers because when you don’t have a dad, the world thinks nothing of breaking you. It knows you have nowhere to go.
Be the dad whose daughters don’t have to look for love in the wrong places or test life to figure out what Love feels like. A strong, capable women already knows what Love really is because she soars from the shoulders of the mighty man who raised her. And when she needs a soft place to land, it is usually right back in her daddy’s arms.
Today as Talisa turns sixteen she makes us so proud to be her parents. She is a remarkable sister, a genuine friend, a blessing to her grandparents, and in so many ways she is both mine and Michael’s ‘right hands’. She is my delight and her fathers greatest gift to the world.
Happy Sixteenth Birthday Talisa. You will always have my voice in your ear praying for you and my hand in yours whenever you need me. So too you will always have your dads’ arms to hold you and his shoulders to soar from. When the time comes for you to soar, don’t be afraid to fly high my darling. The view will be spectacular.
Never forget why we chose your name. May it be a reminder that God is always with you. We love you.