I had the privilege of leaving my father’s house twice. The first time he gave me away looked nothing less than simple. A small mosque, a family witness, and a wedding dress I bought on my own.
His face was flushed. He didn’t look me in the eyes, and his heart hurt deeply. Many of you already know that I’ve been married twice. He was the one to give me away to a stranger the first time, and it was him who saved me when it was time for me to leave.
When I got married for the second time, just before I left the home where I had lived for five years with both my kids after my divorce, his heart was full of love and lessons we had both learnt during the storm we had weathered through together.
On my wedding day, it was my dad’s turn to give his speech. I will never forget that day, and what his words meant to me. He stood, tall and proud. After a few seconds, tears were rolling down his cheeks.
He was the one to give me away to a stranger the first time, and it was him who saved me when it was time for me to leave.
During his speech, I think we both realized how incredible the last five years had been. He openly shared how it was for me to be a single mom. He addressed the elephant in the room: divorce. He showed me respect for going through all that I had whilst standing strong for my kids. My dad shared his love and commitment for my struggle, and applauded me for my mistakes because he knew I had grown from them.
In those same moments, he also shared how important it is to support our daughters with open arms, and how judgement can paralyze our growth and potential in this world.
His words will forever stay with me. My father was born on the side of a road. His father was not around his entire life. He promised that he would be the best father for his children when he had us. He has kept his word, and today I just wanted to take some time to share him, his love, and his character. Love you, Papa.
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