15 June 2014

father's day

A long time ago, there was a dad with two daughters.  His marriage fell apart and he was granted custody.

We could probably settle in here for awhile and examine all the ins and outs of this, but its the afterwards part that is inspiring.

The dad raised his daughters.  Sure he had help along the way.  But at night it was just him and his girls all tucked away in their rooms.

The dad did his best.  Although, I'm certain there were many nights when he laid awake and wondered if he had.  Wondered if it was enough.  If he was enough.

Isn't that the thing with parenting?  We don't really know in the middle of the hardest parts.  We wonder if we're messing it all up.

But as an adult, with children of my own, I know the answers for this dad. 

Dad, you did your best.  You always worked hard to provide for us.  We didn't have Girbaud jeans, but we did have new jeans.  I don't remember you ever saying you didn't have money for something I needed for school.  And you never asked for the change.  {or did you?}  You encouraged us to get jobs when we were old enough and taught us the value of working hard, too.

Dad, you did your best.   You must have been pretty tired from working all day and then dealing with your chatty girls.  You still found time for fun.  It must have been a ton of work to get ready for our annual camping trip, but you never skipped it.  You could talk like PeeWee Herman {before he was creepy!} and lip sync like Milli Vinilli.  You did crack some corny jokes, but corniness aside your jokes always made me laugh.  

Dad, you did your best.  Your marriage fell apart at a time when the Church was still really awkward with handling broken families.  I cannot imagine what it felt like for you, but you continued to get us to church.  When we threw tantrums about it, you didn't just throw your hands up and say forget it.  I think you made a brave, hard choice to stick with it.  I'm so glad you did.  While church attendance does not equal salvation, it is often a starting point.  I'm grateful you fought hard to give us a foundation of Truth.

Dad, you did your best.  I don't remember you ever once saying, "I cannot wait until you go to your mom's house."  I imagine 'her days' must have been some kind of break for you, but you never let us know it.  You let us go, but never made us feel guilty about it.  I know things weren't perfect with you + mom + shared custody and all that jazz, but the older I get, the more respect I have for you and how you handled that.  My children have relationships with both of their grandparents because of some of the choices you two made way back then.  I am so grateful.

Dad, you did your best.  You let us grow up.  You didn't try to hold us back.  It must've been hard to know when to give us more responsibility.  And harder yet, to give us second chances.  I wonder what was more difficult for you, when we were young and you had to do our hair for us; or when we were older and you had to let us leave the house with our hair all crazy. 

Dad, you were enough.  You still are. You aren't one to write mushy letters, or call and check-in every day or so.  But you have this one look -- the one that says everything.  Your mouth is pressed tightly into a smile, your eyes are a little squinty, but not so much that I can't see the tears glistening.  I know you love me and I know you are proud of me.  I hope you always know the feeling is mutual.

Dad you were enough, because you were never alone.  God carried you through and gave you wisdom when you needed it.  Your family is beautiful because you were faithful.  

Happy Father's Day, Pops!  I'm proud of you and I love you!