Last year my husband had the awesome privilege of attending the Camp Diva Date with Dad Dinner and Dance, and came home talking about how amazing the whole event was. Naturally, we discussed all the beautiful dresses the girls wore and the fathers who compassionately accompanied their daughters to this event, which celebrated love and the bond between father and daughter. At the time my relationships with my own father was strained and virtually in limbo, so I felt my heart tug when my husband joyfully described the love and affection shown to each girl by her father. It was the pictures that depicted fun, excitement, and grandeur, which made me want to attend the event this year on my own. However, it was my husband’s powerful testimony that enticed me to make the decision to repair the relationship with my father and bring him along, with my two sisters as well.
I knew from the very beginning that God had his hand in this situation. As I was preparing to talk with my Dad about attending, my sisters had already caught wind of the event through social media, as I was tweeting and posting it to Facebook. Immediately when I suggested that we should all go, they both squealed in delight. “This will absolutely bring us all together!” they exclaimed. It was just a matter of asking my Father. When I arrived at my father’s house to ask him, I must admit I was nervous. In my late twenties, I have never embarked on something as wonderful as a father/daughter dance. I would have never imagined inviting my father to an event like this, or even him attending one with me. We just were never that type of father/daughter team. Neither my sisters nor I knew what was going to happen, but I stepped out in faith and invited my Dad anyway. My Dad immediately said “yes!” I was ecstatic. He said it sounded like a great idea and he too wanted to start spending more time with us and create a stronger bond with his daughters. This was going to be an experience I never wanted to forget.
I prayed on it the whole way through. Most of us were struggling financially, trying to make ends meet and pay bills. Just barely keeping our heads above water, I faced the challenge of paying for all four of us to attend the event. With tickets costing $25 each, I knew I wanted to contribute to the event and deliver an awesome experience to my sisters and father at the same time. I had to get to work. The Date with Dad was my priority. Most of the people I talked to were difficult to close on the idea that they too should contribute to this monumental occasion, some even suggested that it might not be worth it. Here I am trying to help and create a wonderful memory for not only me, but other girls and their fathers too, and obstacles were coming from left and right. I pressed on, I sold clothes, I contracted work, and saved pennies just so that I could attend with my family and give them the night I promised. I could only imagine the work that the women of Camp Diva have to put into what they do. They are truly an inspiration. The ability to keep explaining your vision, your dream, and your purpose to people, in the hopes that they too buy into it and can contribute a small iota of assistance to see it flourish… it monumental. Those women are amazing!
I finally got the money together and I paid for my ticket, Glory to God! We scheduled a date to help my Dad find a suit, which for some reason was rescheduled three to four times due to scheduling conflicts. However, when we finally got together, it was an awesome Saturday afternoon. We laughed, we cracked jokes, and we talked. Something we rarely get to do with him on our own. It’s that nervous feeling around him, as if you’re meeting someone for the first time. We ask ourselves constantly, “Does he know this” or “Have I told him this”. This event was going to be the catalyst to jump start a relationship with our father. This was going to be the marriage of a father/daughter bond that we never experienced. We wore variations of white and gold, because we were solidifying a solid bond with this man, who we have lived with our entire lives, but know rarely anything about. Our Dad, who has always provided for us, but never really tried to get too close. This was our chance to change what history has tainted, and I couldn’t have been more excited if I tried.
The night was beautiful! In gown and dresses, my sisters and I stepped out with our father in a spectacular way. I walked in a saw all these beautiful little girls and gorgeous women, all adorned in pretty dresses and incredible smiles. My Dad was dapper in his suit and tie, looking nervous but excited himself. He cleans up well, and we were so proud to have him on our arm. As we ate and drank punch at the table, marveled by the beautiful families around us, we laughed and joked the whole night. I am not going to lie and say that we weren’t at the table waiting and ready to get “turnt up”. I wanted to dance and watch everyone else get his or her party on as well. So right after the celebration of the Real Father Award Winners: Congratulations to Harold Coles Jr., Scott Randall, Thomas Nixon, Anson Owen, and Nelson B. Farrar and the Father/Daughter game with Actor Chad Coleman (Miss Evers Boys/The Wire), Juan Conde (Anchor with TV 8) led us into the dance portion of the evening.
My Dad was a straight crazy man on the dance floor and I loved it. We laughed at his silliness and delighted in his ability to just let go and be free. It’s times like this when I realize that time is never promised to us, and if I could make that moment in time last forever, I would. Nevertheless, I soaked in every minute of it, and enjoyed every second. He talked with Juan Conde and shared stories about us when we were little, listening to him on the radio when Juan was with Power 92. He was so excited. He ran and took pictures everywhere and profiled in his suit, something he doesn’t get to wear often enough. I was proud to have him with me that evening. My sisters looked beautiful and my Dad was so excited, the evening turned out better than I could have ever imagined.
When I think about what Angela Patton and everyone with Camp Diva are doing, have done, and are attempting to do with these young girls in Richmond, I kind of wish I was a little girl again. I wish I had this when I was younger, because we wouldn’t be trying to begin a relationship with my Dad as adults, we would be celebrating what already was in place. I wish that some more people out there were diligent in trying to institute something so precious as that bond, like Camp Diva is doing. Nevertheless, my mission was to prove that it is never too late. As a grown woman with children of my own I’m making it my business to make something happen between my sisters, my dad, and I. Life is too short and I don’t have the time for “should’ve, could’ve, and would’ve”, I want to take advantage of these opportunities when they come. I didn’t know if I was going to even be able to afford to do it, but my trust that God was going to see me through, and it did, it saw me through that hotel, with two beautiful sisters and my handsome father in tow. So just when you think it’s not important for you to strive for life has a funny way of showing you, everything is worth it and more. Our experience is one for the books, a lifetime memory and a whole lot of love was in that room at the Marriot. Camp Diva did an awesome job in putting that together and creating a chance for fathers to make their daughters feel special. I can’t wait to attend next year; I hope that I see you at the table beside us.
Shout out to Melody Short (Artisan Café), Craig Watson (Lyric Ave), Rob (Peace Clothing) who I saw and spoke to that evening. A huge shout out to Angela Patton, Ayana, Lisa, and all the beautiful women of Camp Diva (Camp Diva).
Please follow and support Camp Diva www.CampDiva.org
Watch my video testimony before the dance…
To see more photos go to my Facebook Fan Page at www.Facebook.com/GaptoothDivaonline
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