Last week, the Cleveland Indians announced that utility player extraordinaire Mike Aviles was taking an extended leave of absence from the team, as he learned that his four-year-old daughter, Adriana, had been diagnosed with leukemia. It might be presumptuous for me to express my thoughts, as I do not know Mike Aviles or his family. I also cannot comprehend the range of thoughts and emotions that Mike Aviles might be feeling right now. However, I can certainly empathize with him as I have my own four-year-old princess at home.
Daughters are special. I love my sons with all my being, but there is still something different when it comes to my relationship with my daughter, as a little girl is just gifted the ability of opening a father’s heart to the furthest depths that his love is capable of traveling.
Sometimes, the love is found in the pure joy that comes from her rushing towards the door at full speed yelling “DADDY!” and leaping without hesitation into your arms. No matter what else may have happened during a given day, any day that includes such a magnificent moment is a good one.
Sometimes, the love is found in an impromptu moment when her favorite Taylor Swift song blares over the store or restaurant speakers, causing a quick eye lock that leads into a dance. No matter who may be watching, the only thing that matters is the bond you share as the song you have danced along to so many times before at home plays on1 .
Sometimes, the love is found in a quiet setting in her bedroom, sitting on a blanket surrounded by her favorite dolls, plastic pastries, pinkies raised, with her best tea set laid out before you. You discuss the important topics of the day with her (and her dolls), such as how beautiful her newly painted toes look, while she pours the tea and keeps changing which container has the cream and which one has the sugar. No matter how ridiculous it would seem for you to be taking a quiet pretend tea in any other setting, it makes perfect sense.
Even those without daughters, I think, can appreciate the need for a father to be protective of such a love. You see, in a girl’s life, especially early on, her father is the king to her princess, just like the bedtime stories, who is willing and able to protect her against everything and anything that the world might set before her.
The fatherly instinct is to put her in the tallest tower and guard that tower with a fire-breathing dragon that will incinerate anything and anyone that might do her harm. And that instinct is a great thing, as it ensures that our little princesses know that their father is always there to protect them and keep them safe.
Except, real life does not always follow the rules of a fairy tale, and there are times throughout their lives that a young girl will either willingly or unwillingly be challenged with obstacles. Those obstacles can prove to be a great thing, as those little princesses often prove that they have strength of their own and are capable of overcoming even the most daunting tasks, whether it be completing a perfect cartwheel or overcoming a physical ailment.
For Adriana, it is simply not fair. Children are supposed to inherit the Earth, and young girls are supposed to be spending their free time dressing up as fairies and princesses, not going to doctor visits and battling cancer. It goes without saying that it is absolutely heartbreaking for any father to see another father see his princess in peril.
But, my prayer for Adriana is not just that she will beat cancer, but that she will demonstrate to her daddy her true strength while pushing the cancer into full remission. My prayer is that Adriana proves that she truly is a princess through her strength, grace, and love.
And, my prayer for Mike (Dad-to-Dad) is not just that you will be there as Adriana beats cancer, but that you will be there to protect her with a dragon when she is vulnerable, and let her show off her strength when she feels emboldened. That your hugs form that wall for her and your presence with her makes her realize how strong she can be.
Finally, my prayer for the Aviles family is that you will all persevere through these trials, and that your family will form an even closer bond than you already have. And know that many lifetime fans of the Cleveland Indians are rooting harder for your family than we ever have for the team itself.
Peggy Joyce aka @clevelandmomof1 is spearheading an effort to collect cards for Adriana and the Aviles family. If you would like to support her efforts, please contact her via PM on twitter.
Please RT..Collecting cards for Mike Aviles (Clev Indians) 4 year daughter with Leukemia. Pm me for details..#cardsforadriana
— ♡s Cleveland Sports (@clevelandmomof1) May 15, 2015
- The dance may even be choreographed from the Just Dance video game [↩]