By Project Sanctuary founder and CEO Heather Ehle
“I asked for steel-toed boots so I could help my dad.”
During one of our Project Sanctuary summer therapeutic retreats, I had the pleasure of hiking in the Rocky Mountain National Park with our youth program. By bringing up the rear, I can make sure that everyone is accounted for, and have the best conversations at a slightly slower pace.
The Princess was 12, blonde, with a scowl on her face. I asked what was wrong. She said that she was wearing steel-toed boots, and they weren’t that great for hiking. I commented that they were very nice boots and that you don’t see many Princesses wearing steel-toed boots! She proudly explained that she had asked for them, had to wait FOREVER for them, and that it was all she wanted… so she could help her dad at work.
“Dad” is a young, retired veteran, wounded but still moving forward. He is looking for a balance between PTSD and living. While serving, he missed big chunks of time of his daughter’s growing up. He missed more than one birthday. Back home now and trying to reintegrate, he has started his own company and begun doing construction and snow plowing.
The Princess went into great detail about how good she and her Dad were at forecasting not only the snow but also when the schools would be delayed or closed. This was her favorite time, time spent with her dad, in his truck, clearing snow at midnight. Her face lit up, her pace quickened, and you could tell that the “hiking in boots” discomfort was gone.
I wonder if her daddy knows how much she idolizes him, how much she worries and how spending time with him, just riding in his truck, makes her world a little more perfect. I wonder if he know just how extraordinary he is, by taking the time to let her ride along in his truck. That is the stuff that Dad heroes are made of.
Sometimes great moments come from the little things – a simple question, a hike in the woods. And sometimes the greatest moments come from a pair of steel-toed boots.