What If I Fall…Without My Father There To Catch Me? – Scary Mommy

What If I Fall…Without My Father There To Catch Me?

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“I’m scared, Daddy.”

“There’s nothing to be afraid of, honey.”

“What if I fall?”

“I’ve got you. I won’t let you fall.”

I was a determined child. I always succeeded when I set my mind to something, and I wanted to ride my bike without training wheels. I could taste the freedom the two wheels offered, so I appealed to my dad to teach me. He said I should practice a little more with training wheels, but I flashed my hazel “But Daddy” eyes, knowing he couldn’t say no. It only took a few hours before I rode to the end of the street alone, wind blowing my stringy blonde locks behind me, squealing with delight, “Daddy, look! I’m doing it.”

A few years later…

“I’m scared, Daddy.”

“There’s nothing to be afraid of, honey.”

“What if I fall?”

“I’ve got you. I won’t let you fall.”

He took me skating every Sunday after church, but first it was our ritual to get ice cream. He always ordered a scoop of French vanilla on a cake cone, and I got a scoop of chocolate on a sugar cone. We sat and talked, eating our tasty treats and smelling the thick sugar scent of our favorite ice cream shop. Then we went skating. Skating backwards on roller skates took skill. My father was an expert, able to spin and turn and glide across the skating rink floor. I wanted to be able to couples skate, but I was too afraid to skate backwards, so I asked my dad, and he patiently taught me. By the end of the day, I danced on wheels across the entire rink feeling confident that the next Friday night, I might finally say yes when Kyle asked me to skate with him.

A few years later…

“I’m scared, Dad.”

“There’s nothing to be afraid of, honey.”

“What if I fall?”

“I’ve got you. I won’t let you fall.”

I stood in my ivory wedding dress, hair pinned to perfection, makeup professionally applied, hiding behind a spiral staircase so nobody could see me, terrified to walk down the aisle. His presence was comfort, is comfort, and that day, he held my trembling hand and told me everything was going to be OK. “Walk slowly,” he said, “Let everyone see how beautiful you are.” I didn’t carry flowers. It wasn’t my thing. I locked one arm through his and grabbed onto his arm with my free hand, and we walked, heads held high to the end of the aisle. A few times he slowed me, and once he whispered, “Slow down, honey.”

He talked me through all of my fears. He was there when I lost friends. He attended their funerals with me. He held me when I felt my first heart break. He wrapped his arms around me, and let me cry into his shoulder.

Dad always held my hand, even when I was probably too old, when I could easily walk across the street or around the mall. He still held mine. His hands weren’t big, but they were strong. They were warm. They were home.

A few years later…

“I’m scared, Dad.”

“There’s nothing to be afr…ahem…there’s nothing to be afraid of, honey.” I could hear his effort to be strong.

Sadly, I know better. He can’t talk me down from this one. He can’t make me feel any better. He can’t take away my fear.

Cancer.

He has cancer, and now it’s my turn to be the strong one.

But how can I? I can’t imagine reaching out my hand and his not being there to grab.

I’m scared, Dad.

What if I fall?

What if I fall?

What if I fall?