Every car ride in my dad’s black Nissan GT in 1989 had the song “Part of Your World” cued up in the tape deck where I had the chance to belt out each and every word, using Barbie to act out the scene in Ariel’s cave on the dashboard (yes, it was the 80’s and yes kids could ride shotgun in the front seat, without a seatbelt. Yes, I was eight year old. Again, the 80’s). The song succinctly transitioned into “Under the Sea,” and I would continue an awe inspiring vocal performance with new interpretive dance moves while my dad would quote Sebastian. To this DAY, I can hear him say “teenagers, give them an inch and they swim all over you.” And now as a child free adult, I can look back and wonder how on earth this man allowed his daughter to play, on repeat for an entire year, two songs from The Little Mermaid. ONLY TWO. He enjoyed her singing, encouraged her to keep singing, loved her so much that having her not do that wasn’t an option.
It is these seeming insignificant moments where my eyes well up and I am overwhelmed with emotions, not the sadness of grief but the emotions that come with loving someone with all your existence.
I cry because I loved him so much and because he loved his only child more than he could ever explain or show, and Disney songs on repeat were tantamount to unconditional love.
It is this gesture of jamming out to a Disney movie with my dad and my Barbies, having tea parties in a Popples tent and dance parties with costumes that I will forever take with me and encapsulate the powerful, unwaivering love between a father and a daughter.
I am so blessed to have dad who wants me to shine, even when he isn’t here with me. The irony of our sharing in The Little Mermaid is he never wanted me to NOT be me: his loud, boisterous, rule breaking daughter. He gave me a space to be different, a dashboard to create, a stage sing my own song and to never, ever apologize for having a voice.
Turn up the volume on your favorite song, your dads favorite song, say what you need to say and NEVER EVER apologize for being bold.
Ya Big Sis
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