“I’d have five more girls if I could. I’m a girl dad.”Kobe Bryant (from Elle Duncan’s tribute on ESPN)
It was a pretty typical Monday for the Johnson Family. I picked up the girls after school and started the 70-minute drive for Gym & Dance Night. They do their homework on the way up while I listen to my afternoon podcast rotation. In one room, my oldest girl was working on her balance beam skills with her teammates. In another room, my youngest was learning new moves in her Ballet and Hip-Hop dance classes. After grabbing food for the journey home, we listened to the girls’ favorite podcasts, followed by a few rounds of song requests. As far as I know, I’ve listened to every remix to “Old Town Road” ever created.
Tuesday was a very special surprise! A fellow Rotarian offered me tickets (really really REALLY good tickets) to watch my Auburn Men’s Basketball Team play Ole Miss in Oxford. Naturally, I brought my oldest daughter and “Auburn Sports Road Buddy”. The first half was…not our best. During halftime, however, we were blessed with an opportunity to sit courtside. Courtside!!!! I can’t confirm that our proximity to the court inspired Auburn’s 19-point comeback victory in double-OT, but that’s the story we told mommy the next morning.
Yesterday’s activity came with conditions. I promised my youngest daughter that we would make “B4D” (Breakfast for Dinner) if she had a good day of school. Once I saw the “Green Light” on her behavior chart, I tied her apron. She showed off her pretty impressive egg-cracking skills, and even completed her first unassisted pancake pour and flip.
The gym & dance trip, the ball game, and the cooking aren’t really out-of-the-ordinary activities when it comes to Daddy-Daughter Time. We’ve made the trip to DeSoto County enough times to give you trusted restaurant reviews. We’ve also attended many Auburn games and have flipped many-a-pancake in recent years.
What has been different this week is the increased value I’ve placed on something that’s already priceless. The death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter was truly heartbreaking. While I have a ton of respect for his success on the basketball court, it was his legendary work as a “Girl Dad” that has always stood out to me. You could tell that he was a man who loved his girls. The fact that he died in the middle of Daddy-Daughter Time hit me like a ton of bricks.
The big lesson for me is that the time we get to spend with loved ones, especially our children, is a precious gift. I’m still mourning the 9 victims of this tragedy, and I’m praying for the families and friends who have been impacted. I’m also re-committing myself to making the absolute most of Daddy-Daughter Time.
I will never have Kobe Bryant’s basketball skills, unless I can count the years of shots I’ve made into trash cans and laundry hampers while yelling, “Kobe”. But what I will do is add a little Mamba Mentality to my efforts to make the most of every moment I have with my girls.