by Annette Bridges. ©2009. All rights reserved.

Memories of my dad are brief and few and yet they are very vivid. Although it’s been more than four decades since I was in his presence, there are certain permanent impressions that are fixed in my memory.

Dear Dads (and Moms, too): If you are questioning the impact you are making on your children, question no longer. In fact, the very things you may think are of little significance to your children, are the very things that will stick with them for life.

I had less than ten years with my dad before he passed on, and of course, I have no real memories of those first two or three. I’ve been wondering lately why some memories linger and others fade. No doubt I had more experiences with my dad than the ones that stand out the most. Certainly, there are some sad ones that I choose not to recall today.

Perhaps one way to wash away, diminish and erase the bad is to restore, rejuvenate and reflect on the good.

As I recall a few cherished moments with my dad, some Bible verses also come to mind, reminding me of a Father that is always caring for and loving both me and my dad throughout eternity.

I loved watching television with my dad — albeit a black and white one in those days. One of my greatest afternoon delights was when my dad came home from work and invited me to watch his favorite talk show with him. I can’t say how many times I watched TV with him, but apparently it was meaningful for me to snuggle with him on the sofa. I remember feeling wanted and loved in his warm embrace.

“Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee…” (II Chronicles 9:8)

One of my early childhood dreams was to be a professional singer and musician — not that I had any special talent for either. I remember very well the day my parents bought me a baritone ukulele like my 4th grade teacher’s. My dad set up a music stand in my room that displayed a chord instruction book. After a few suggestions from him, he left me alone to self-teach. I remember feeling self-assured and encouraged by his confidence in me.

“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)

It’s probably a true statement to say we all want, like and need to be needed. One of my fondest memories with my dad is when he asked me to help him mix up concrete. He was making a decorative brick wall around our back patio at our new house. My job was to scoop the cups of concrete mix. I remember how important I felt as I fulfilled my duties and how pleased my dad was with my work. His faith in me made me believe I could do anything.

“If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” (Mark 9:23)

And then there were the times when all I needed to feel safe and sound was to hold my daddy’s hand. For a while, the six members of my family shared a two-bedroom apartment. During this time my bed was parallel to my parent’s. I remember many nights when I was afraid in the dark, and all my fears disappeared as soon as I reached across the aisle between our beds to grab my dad’s hand. His strong hand made me feel protected and invincible. And again, I felt loved.

“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love…” (Jeremiah 31:3)

Children may not always understand their dads. We may get very little time to know them. We may sometimes disagree with them. We may even want to be very different from them. But I like to believe that, at least most of the time, our fathers love us. Certainly, we all have a divine Father who does.

Indeed, perhaps my most indelible memory of all is holding my dad’s hand. I’m looking at a photo right now that is on the bookcase in front of my desk. I’m in my Easter dress and bonnet standing beside my dad holding his hand. So yes, oh yes — in the words of Holly Dunn — “I’ll always remember the love in (my) Daddy’s hands.”