Father’s Day… and remembering… and wishing…

Grandpa with Hudson

Grandpa with Hudson

A shout out to all the father’s in my life!  First and foremost my husband who is my strength, my joy, my everything.  He is patient with his invalid wife, never complains about his used up body of bad health, and keeps us all laughing through this journey we call life.  He has cast a long shadow of righteousness and integrity and hard work and love for his family that all our children stand in.   They are following in his footsteps, loving God, loving life, working hard, and finding humor in all the “missteps” that leave us wondering what happened with plan A.  He is my hero and for all you grand kiddos reading this in 20 years, whether Grandpa and I are still here on earth or not, well, remember that he is the one who has started your legacy of testimony and hard work and love for his family and his greatest wish is for you to not only continue in his shadow that will always surround you with strength, but to improve your legacy to your children.  If we can improve just a little with each generation, isn’t that all we can hope for?  And since this is not our home, and we look beyond this life into the eternities, we picture us all together.  Still laughing and finding joy as we continue our journey to beyond.

 

As I sit here thinking about all things Father, remembering a story from my childhood that my children have heard often, (indeed they refer to this experience of mine often)… I thought it appropriate to share it today.  I was twelve at the time.  A prissy little girl, innocent and very worried about things like what others thought of me, how I was dressed, bad hair days … my family hated me for it, but there it is.   Back in the day, social security numbers were not given at birth, and so my dad took us three older ones to get ours.  He decided he wanted to act like he was handicapped, “to see how people react to him,” he said (he did love to watch and study people, a trait I have inherited).  We begged him not to, knowing that he was dead serious and what this could possibly mean for us over the next hour.  But alas, we were unable to dissuade him and so we entered the building with dad limping, slurring his words, and drooling out of the side of his mouth. really.  At one point, he got a drink out of the drinking fountain, and if things were not already horrifyingly embarrassing, he topped the experience off by lifting his leg as he bent over for a drink, and let one rip (fart, pass gas, cut the cheese, flatulence).  Oh yes.  This really happened.  He did not let up the act until we were back in the car.  So you will understand that when I threaten to embarrass my children in public, they KNOW the foundation this threat is built on.  I admit I have never gone to these lengths to embarrass my kids in their lives, (although there is still time).  But my beloved and I do get a great reaction when we threaten to :).  It’s one of the rights of passage when you give birth, calm the temper tantrums, listen to the “I hate you’s,” fix Grandma’s car that daughter scraped with my car and never told a soul and thought we wouldn’t notice and know that it was her, teach the boy how to fix the wall he kicked a hole in…. you get the picture.  So imagine my delight when I found this little gem of a father’s day tribute.  I feel whole again knowing there are other kids out there experiencing the wrath of a parent’s amusement… there is comfort in numbers.

Papa (my daddy) is old and widowed now, and still enjoys a good laugh and is often sending us emails with “senior” humor.  He is a good Papa and in this winter season of his life is an example to us all as he continues his legacy of faith and testimony. and humor.

Our children are growing up.  There seems to be no stopping it, as much as I wanted to freeze them at age 8… that age where they’re independent enough to make their own lunch and still call you friend.  But we have been extraordinarily lucky with our little brood.  Indeed, the worst teenage “funk” we have ever been through wasn’t even much of a challenge.  None of our kids have ever strayed from a good and righteous life.  They have never given us any reason to truly freak out.  I distinctly remember house hunting in PA when we were destined to move there many years ago now.  As we were driving around with this delightful, full bred New Jersey-er, with the Rosie O’Donnell accent I could listen to for days and be amused by that alone… she asked us about our children.  I began to lament about the problems we were having with our oldest at the time (sloughing school, “doorbell” ditching with friends [which had become an offense that cops could  pick them up for and take them abruptly home], staying up late until the wee hours of the morning and getting to school late all the time).  Yep, those were the things we got to worry about with our teens.  She stopped me and started asking me questions like “so does he drink and party? does he take drugs? is he flunking school?”  All of my answers to these types of questions was a resounding “no.”  I’ll never forget her answer that put me in my place, expanding my view of all things parenting… “So what are you so worried about?  It sounds to me like he’s a great kid and you need to appreciate that he isn’t into anything that might ruin his life.”  And you know, I learned to really appreciate people who have been willing to just tell me like it is when I needed it most.  These are the kind of people I really trust.  Sometimes.  You just have to be hit right between the eyes in order to right yourself and see things as they really are.  We do have great kids.  And now, they are growing their own little broods, equally great so far.  Two are married, one with two little boys, and being grandparents suits us just fine.  Another of the four is headed off to a mission in Ukraine in a few weeks, and our baby (now 16) is one very fine young man if I do say so myself.  (click on any picture to see full photos)

And I’m wishing that all families could have what we have.  Perfect contentment.  Really.  The friendships we have, the laughs we laugh constantly, the testimonies we share mostly by how we live, all come together to create the most perfect home for us here on earth.  And we all know that our priorities are the same… God, Family, Country.

 

So maybe, if we could all slow down enough to watch the clouds make their way lazy like across the sky, and listen to the birds sing, and sit around and talk and laugh without worrying about the to do list for a minute, and let a child help us even if they slow us down, and visit a grandpa even though there might be a thousand other things to do, then maybe, just maybe, the big picture wouldn’t get lost in the busy that takes over a life.  And we would be friends with the people that matter most.  And forgiveness would come easy because perspective would be clear.  And we would nurture the habits that get us to our real home.  Because I feel like that’s what we try to do in my little corner of the world, and it sure makes us pretty darn happy.

So here’s to my eternal sweetheart who is husband and daddy and grandpa, who fills us all up with love for God and laughing days.  So many laughing days.  And to my own daddy who left me a legacy of faith and testimony.  And to all my boys who are either daddies or uncles, who fill my life with a fullness that only a mother’s heart can understand.   I love you more than life itself and may this Father’s Day be a very happy one indeed!  Cheers!

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