I had a conversation with my (step) daddy one time that has stuck with me and has been at the forefront of my mind for these past few weeks. I was a freshman in high school at the time, and we were discussing my life dreams, school plans, and random facts that he and I always shared. Many times my J-Daddy and I did not see eye to eye, but we had many heart to heart conversations that I will always cherish and hold on to.
J-Daddy and I began discussing my grades and how important it was to keep them up in order to have an opportunity to go to whatever school I wanted. I told him that Southern Miss was the school that I wanted to go to in order to pursue a degree in music education. Of course his response was simple, “Baby, I will not wear that nasty gold color for anyone else but you if you decide to go there, but I’m sure by the time you start applying to colleges, Ole Miss will be where you’ll want to go.” Of course, I laughed, knowing good and well it would take more convincing than he would want to do to get me to do anything he wanted. We talked more about school, and after a few minutes, I switched subjects from school to relationships.
At 14 years old, I was the definition of “boy crazy,” and J-Daddy knew that very well. I began discussing how I wanted my wedding to be, the kind of dress I wanted to wear, the ugly bridesmaids’ dresses I wanted to wear, who my bridesmaids and Maid of Honor would be, and who would walk me down the aisle on my big day. He listened as I told him every single detail of how I wanted my big day to be, and when I was done he said,
“Jayme, life will throw you curveballs. The friends you have now may not be the friends you have in the future, and that’s totally okay. But I hope that when the time comes and a man asks me for your hand in marriage, that he’s prepared to understand that in my eyes, he’ll never be enough for me. He’ll be a good man because you have a good head on your shoulders and you have good judgement. You will always be one of my babies, even though you are not biologically mine, you are mine.” I did not quite understand what he meant, and he knew that I had questions.
“You won’t understand now, but as you grow, you will. There will be times when your heart will be broken by some young man, and there will be times when you break a young man’s heart because you know he is not your one. It is a part of life, and one day, you’ll understand. Live your dreams, reach your goals, and the rest will fall into place after time. Just know that your mother and I will always be here for you, and that no matter what dumb crap you do, we will always love you,” he added. I just nodded my head and told him that I understood.
Today, he is no longer here to give me the great advice he always did back then. My dreams have changed as I now desire to be a law enforcement officer, and I did not attend Southern Miss, but I did attend Ole Miss (as my J-Daddy said I would). I only have a few of the same friends I had when I was a freshman in high school, and I appreciate them more than I ever imagined I would. My wedding day will never be the way that I pictured it to be when I was a freshman in high school, and that’s okay. My J-Daddy will not be there to walk me down the aisle in my beautiful white ballgown, but he will be there in spirit if it happens. I know that no matter how many mistakes I make, I have my amazing mother, sister, brother, and David behind me holding me up to make sure I don’t get lost in it all.
I have learned that life’s curveballs can make or break you at times. The curveballs teach you to enjoy every single aspect of life, to love God more, and to start loving more people better. I have come to understand what my J-Daddy meant within our conversation on that late October evening in 2009. That conversation has taught me more within this life than I could have ever imagined.