Snapshot_20150712_1I have a new somethinerother bracelet, not really my thing, but nonetheless it will be for a while now.  Why?

Because my favorite girl made it just for me.

Dads around the world know what I am talking about when I say that the most precious fashion in our wardrobe comes from that which is most precious.  Alyssa is 19 years old, but she still likes to make little things for me.  Over the years I have many little braided baubles that came from my daughter’s creative hands.  Most I have worn as much as possible, not just so my little girl can see that I am wearing her gift to me, but because it really is a gift to me and for me, presented with sweetness by my jewel.

Today I am wearing my heart on my sleeve, literally.  Alyssa has been away for the last month and a half, working as a live in cabin counselor at the camp she went to as a girl.  She is a young woman now, just to clarify.  Yesterday I drove the hour and a half with Miriam and Nate to see Alyssa at camp,  I won’t say anything about the drive except that it made me even more happy to see Alyssa.  I burst out of the car as she ran up to us, wrapped her in a big hug, kissed my little girl on the cheek.  After she greeted Miriam and Nate, she led Miriam and I to show her cabin to us.

I made this for you, dad.  Does it fit?” Alyssa beamed as she handed me the bracelet.  I put it on my left wrist, a perfect fit.

Alyssa July 2015 KidsAlyssa was dead tired, a feeling that I remember quite well, the recognition both pleasant and dreaded from my own experience.  My daughter is doing what I did some 30 years ago.  She invests everything into the time she has with the children at camp, passionately, because she truly loves what she is doing.  The years I was able to be a camp counselor and camp dean were some of the best years of my life.  Listening to my daughter tell about the last few weeks, I can see that Alyssa is going to feel the same way when she is my age.  Seeing her excitement was just as much of a gift as the bracelet that she had just given me — because I felt that same excitement and it is so good to see that in her.

Alyssa told us story after story of little funny things her girls had said or did, her cheeks stuck in a grin as she told us.  Little things, really, but precious to her.

The kids love her.  It is so obvious.  Her girls cheered in celebration as she won the counselors’ beauty contest and devoured the cupcakes in the eating competition.  They cling to her, eat up the attention that she so easily gives to them.Alyssa July 2015

Can anyone tell how proud I am of her?

Alyssa is MY daughter, as my mother commented on some of the pictures that Alyssa posted on Facebook.  It’s true.  A ham.  An all in type.  She is me, but she is also unique in the way she expresses herself.  I hope she has a daughter just like her, one who brings joy to her, who brings the same kind of honor to her father.

Daughters raise up their father, lift them up.

Maybe that is why God gave me a daughter.  I need that.  I need to be feel like I am that special man that no other man will ever be — her father.  She looks at me with that twinkle that only a daughter has for her father, knows I am not perfect but it doesn’t matter because the good she knows about me far exceeds the imperfection.

When it was time to go, Alyssa asked me to walk her to her cabin.  She told me she loves me, gave me a big hug, and I wept as walked the 400 yards back to the car.  I miss her already.

Here are just a few more recent pictures from her camp counseling experiences:

Alyssa July 2015 Beard

Yes, that beard is her own hair!

Alyssa July 2015Kate

She was able to be a counselor with her childhood best friend, Kate, last week.

Alyssa July 2015 Contest

Her boyfriend, Caleb, drove 7 hours to visit her last weekend.

Her boyfriend, Caleb, drove 7 hours to visit her last weekend.