There are a few messages in my voicemail that I can't delete.
One is from almost two years ago. I remember picking it up for the first time, I was driving home from work, distracted, but my dad's rich voice stilled my frenzied thoughts...
"Hello my daughter! I was just talking to a young lady I met today about you... she is young and unexpectedly pregnant but in a serious relationship- basically the mirror image of what your mother and I went through. Anyway, I was telling her about how I found out about true love, when I saw my daughter for the first time. I love you, Corinne."
There's another message I keep, it came the day after he found out about my major breakup with my longtime boyfriend...
"I just called to say i love you, I called to say I've been praying for you. Today is a great day Corinne, it's a day the Lord has made, I love you my daughter, keep strong."
The third one from him that I can't delete, that came just a couple weeks after the second one, completely summarizes the message he's been sending me, without end, unconditionally, my entire life...
"Just called to say I love ya, thought I'd call you and see how you're doing, you rock, my daughter, you're young and beautiful and successful and you've got the whole world by the tail. I love you."
Twenty-seven years ago today my dad celebrated his twenty-second birthday. A month later, I was born. As young as he was when he became a father, as much as he's gone through since, he's made his love and admiration for me so evident, so constant, that it's become part of my narrative of how I've become a confident young woman, even when I haven't displayed the qualities that he's always used to describe me.
He is not perfect, and neither am I. But I'm one of the lucky girls, I know.
"There's something like a line of gold thread running through a man's words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself."
~John Gregory Brown, Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery, 1994
*a daddy/daughter-made sandcastle, 08/2008