"Wind blowing on my face
Sidewalk flying beneath my bike
A five-year old's first taste
Of what freedom's really like.."
I am the eldest of 4 children. My dad was a doctor, employed as a company physician in a large textile manufacturing plant. I guess my dad wanted a son for a first born, and had no second thoughts of buying boy stuff for me. When I was little, I had the best toys - a big pedal car, a special hand made slingshot, toy soldiers, and battery operated trains and trucks.
"He was running right beside me
His hand holding on the seat
I took a deep breath and hollered
As I headed for the street.."
The best gift I received as a child was a shiny red bicycle! I was lucky enough to have grown up in a large house, with a long 4 car garage where I learned to balance on my new bike. I have lost count of how many scrapes, bruises and bumps I got in my desire to learn to ride a bike on my own. One Saturday afternoon, Daddy was right there beside me, giving me tips, cheering me on and yet scared to let go of the seat for fear that I might fall (again). How exhilarating it was to finally be able to ride my shiny red bike all by myself. My dad's eyes could not conceal how proud he was of me that day.
"You can let go now, Daddy, you can let go
Oh, I think I'm ready to do this on my own
Its still a little bit scary but I want you to know
I'll be okay now, Daddy. You can let go.."
I eventually learned to ride the bike. No more wobbling, no more sudden stops. I would ride my bike around the driveway and the backyard for hours until my butt was sore. I loved that bike. I was confident enough to go biking to the store, to a classmate's house, to the bakery. I hated running errands, but when I earned my parents' trust to ride the bike outside the house, I was already volunteering to do it for every member of the family. When I got to that age when girls have that growth spurt, my Dad decided it was time to get me a bigger bike. I loved the new one even more! Daddy would watch me from the front porch as I circled around and around. He loved me. I am sure of that.
"I was standing at the altar
Between the two loves of my life
To one I've been a daughter
To one I soon would be a wife.."
The phase of teenage rebelliousness was the norm. I felt how much my parents resented my partying, my sleep-overs with friends. I explained that I was not doing anything that I would regret later on. I needed my parents' trust. In exchange, I breezed through college and handed them my diploma - a degree in Zoology. Done and over with in 7 semesters. I was more than ready to get into medical school.
But fate had its way. A few months after graduation from pre-med, I got pregnant. I could not even dare to look Daddy in the eyes. He was hurt. I hurt him. All I did was cry. I was so guilty. Daddy's words pierced my very being - "What have I done to deserve this?"
Despite his reluctance, Daddy needed to set the path straight for me again. He continued to send me through medical school. He took care of the expenses for my baby. He paid for the entire wedding and reception. He still believed in me.
"When the preacher asked
'Who gives this woman?'
Daddy's eyes filled up with tears
He kept holding tightly to my arm
Till I whispered in his ear
You can let go now Daddy, you can let go
Its still feels a little bit scary
But I want you to know
I'll be okay now, Daddy. You can let go.."
Years passed. I was a junior in med school, had two kids and lived in a small apartment, several blocks away from my parents. I spent one weekend at my parents' house when Daddy called me in his room. He told me to sit down beside him on the bed. "What's up, Dad?" I asked. Daddy took a deep breath and said.. "I have cancer. I know I do. I am a doctor. I am sure of this"
My whole body went numb. My dad who was strong and healthy, so fun loving and always after the welfare of my mom and my siblings is sick with cancer? It can't be true. No! Its not true. I sat there in silence. I finally found some words to say..."Does mom know?"
"It was killing me to see the strongest man I ever knew
Wasting away to nothing in that hospital room
You know he's only hanging on for you
That's what the night nurse said
My voice and heart were breaking
As I crawled up on his bed and said...
You can let go now, Daddy. You can let go
Your little girl is ready to do this own my own
Its gonna be a little bit scary but I want you to know
I'll be okay now, Daddy. You can let go..
You can let go."
My father died on the 26th of April, 1992. We were at his bedside until his heart beat its last. Daddy finally let go.
"You can let go now, Daddy"
Artist: Crystal Shawanda
Thank you to Larry Lan, the artist who uploaded this wonderful video.