January 26, 2020 started off as a great day. When my eyes opened yesterday, my baby girl was officially five years old. Where has the time gone? I just looked at Allie and marveled at the person that she has already become. She is such an amazing child and I am truly blessed to be able to call her my daughter. Allie has enjoyed her entire birthday weekend that started with her birthday party on Friday night. It is so wonderful just to see my little girl having a great time laughing and playing. As a dad, nothing compares to seeing that big smile on her face that lights up a room. I love my little girl. Unfortunately, even though Sunday may have started off with smiles and laughter, it ended with a tragedy. Basketball icon Kobe Bryant along with his daughter and others passed away in a helicopter crash. When I saw the post on my timeline, I didn’t believe it. It just couldn’t be true. Then I kept scrolling and unfortunately, it was. For a while, I was speechless and in disbelief. I mean, this is Kobe Bryant. He was only 41 years old. It seems as if it was just yesterday that I was watching him on television playing the game that he loved. Now, in the blink of an eye, he’s gone. The world is in mourning. My heart goes out to his wife and his daughters. I cannot even imagine what they are going through. I just sit back and reflect on Kobe Bryant, the man. Being a dad who has a daughter as well, this hits me a little bit differently.
The toughest tragedies produce tears that will water the ground and grow into something beautiful. The events of yesterday have forced me to slow down and to just appreciate life even more. Kobe did not have a son, but he has daughters. As a man, I’ll admit that I have thought about how it would be to have a son to carry on my legacy. But looking through his eyes, he showed me that girls are just as capable to do the same. Allie is my mini me. She wants to do things that I do and wants to go to the places that I go. She will literally get under me and just follow me around the house just so that she can be close to me. I’ll admit, there are times that it can be annoying, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Yesterday when I held her in my arms, I squeezed just a little bit tighter. I held her just for a few seconds longer. Allie is my legacy and I am very proud of her. This morning I got a little bit emotional. She was wanting me to come eat with her at school during lunch today. I already had a very busy day planned and I just wouldn’t have the time. She cried, but she understood. I took her to school and she was getting ready to get out of the car from the car rider line. She was headed out the door, but she stopped and came back inside to give me one more hug. I would usually try to tell her to go because there is a line of cars behind us. But this time, I embraced her for those extra few seconds. It made me think about Kobe’s other three daughters. They had no idea that they would be hugging their dad for the last time. If that was going to be the last time I held my baby girl, I wanted it to be special.
We get so caught up in life and the things that we need to do that we sometimes forget what’s truly important. That was me this morning. As I was driving away, I was just thinking about Allie while listening to sports radio. The only thing she was talking about all last night and this morning was me coming to eat lunch with her. I knew it would make my day a lot busier than it already was, but I made a decision to go have lunch with her. I wish I had a camera crew to capture the moment she saw me sitting at the table waiting for her. Her big brown eyes just lit up and that perfect smile of hers added a glow to the room that was not already there. Words cannot describe how happy she was. She never stopped smiling. Even when I left, I saw her still looking through the window grinning from ear to ear. Those have been the best 30 minutes of my day. I have learned a lot from Kobe and have adopted his Mamba Mentality. But one of the most important things I’ve picked up on is him being extremely successful and still being able to be a good dad in the process. He always kept his family close to him. Money made him rich, but having his family is what made him wealthy. We will be in mourning. But the best thing we can do moving forward is to do what he did, make sure that we have a positive impact on the generation coming up after us. We too must leave a legacy that will help to impact this world. Kobe, you may be gone, but your legacy will live on forever!