“I literally felt like the Grinch. Like, I think my heart grew five sizes that day,” he said. “It was insane.” Not only that, Pippa started participating with the other children, too.
“It changed me more than it changed her!” he said. “To see her finally reach that stage, where she felt comfortable and she was open and active. I mean, it meant the world to me.”
A Girl and Her Dad
UVA’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer J.J. Davis spoke next during the broadcast from UVA’s Facebook page.
Her story also began with a 4 year-old, this one herself. Davis’ parents divorced when she was 4 and her father, whom she affectionately called “Iggy,” got sole custody of her. Davis, a self-proclaimed extrovert, admitted her dad had his hands full with her. She said her dad is “a traditional guy,” a lawyer with Catholic roots. He didn’t know how to cook, understand fashion or style trends “or do any of the conventional things that come to mind when you think about raising a daughter, let alone an extroverted, high energy daughter,” Davis said. “But he knew so much more.”
Davis said looking back, she could see all of the valuable lessons her father taught her through the “nontraditional ways” she was raised.
She shared a few in her Double Take story.
“Lesson one. Service is admirable and fulfilling and balance is essential,” she said. Davis’ father, Lawrence Ignatius Wagner, quit his grueling 80-hour-a-week job as a litigator so he could spend more time with his young daughter. That lesson stuck with Davis, who said she values a healthy work-life balance because of the example her father set.
Elaborate meals are not necessary for raising a healthy child and getting outdoors for lots of exercise is just what an exuberant child needs, she said.
“Exercise was the key to managing my activity level,” she said. “I hate to say it,” she continued, tongue in cheek, “it still is today.”