Father’s Day Thoughts

“I learned much later – after he was dead, in fact, the time when we so often learn fundamental things about our parents…” – from One Writer’s Beginnings by Eudora Welty

Why is it it takes so long sometimes for us to understand each other? Why didn’t I understand as a teenager that everything Dad threatened was not actually what he would do? I didn’t appreciate what a challenging task he faced in trying to parent when he barely remembered his own father. I didn’t appreciate how difficult it must have been to be a good father when he’d been brought up without one. It must have been especially hard to know what to do with me, his only girl. I can’t remember him saying “I love you,” until after I started college.

I didn’t realize how much he wanted me to succeed. He supported my desire to go to college and I wanted to follow in his footsteps, so I majored in marketing. He didn’t say a lot when I got engaged after two years, and got married instead of returning to school. Except for right before he walked me down the aisle. My hand was in the crook of his arm when he turned to me and asked, “Are you sure?”

He always seemed to struggle with showing his concern. Sometimes he was too hard on me. Sometimes, because he worried, he didn’t say anything at all. He didn’t show excitement when I got pregnant, but then he would warm up to the idea over time, or maybe he became resigned to the fact that there was nothing he could do about it. By the third pregnancy I decided I wouldn’t care what he thought, and by the fourth I think he realized we were going to be okay. But, no matter what, he was there or on his way to the hospital with each birth. He was happy to be a grandpa.

I missed him so much when, after having four kids, I finally walked across the stage to receive my degree in Elementary Education. I wish my children had been able to spend more time with him; to grow into the special nickname he had for each one of them. My oldest was 15 when Dad died. He wasn’t there for any graduations, or the wedding of that oldest, or the birth of his two great grandchildren.

I tell my husband and my son “Happy Father’s Day” , but I wish I could still say it to Dad.

Dad

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Unexpectedly Better

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Weddings are one of the joyous occasions we have to celebrate someone else. One of my favorite weddings, of course, was my son’s. I love his wife; I did then and I do even more now. My husband performed the ceremony outside in July in Baton Rouge – so you can imagine the heat! But, that didn’t matter to me – I was so tremendously happy. The reception was indoors, though, with plenty of air conditioning, food, drink, and dancing. It was in an old plantation house that rents out for weddings and such.

The first dance with my son, that I wasn’t warned about, was to the song “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder. He picked that, which shows his love and respect for me, not only because of the lyrics but because he knows I’m a big Stevie Wonder fan.

I am reminded of the wedding of Cana, where Jesus turned the water into wine at the request of Mary. Many say this was not really wine, but some sort of grape juice. I beg to differ.

From John chapter 2:

When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,

10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.

11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

There is a difference in drinking wine and being drunk:  “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit..” Ephesians 5:18.

Woodrow Kroll puts it this way: “Jesus…transformed a wedding …. Jesus will make the joyous times unexpectedly better. “

Throwback Thursday – 35 years

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Not the best picture, but it’s me, 35 years ago, Farrah Fawcett hair and everything

 

Last month Chuck and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary. Since it falls just nine days before Christmas, we did what we’ve often done – hung out and did a little shopping. For those who want to have big anniversary celebrations, I don’t recommend getting married in December. To compound that, both our birthdays are at the end of November.

So, I was thinking about changes that have come over these past 35 years. 30 pounds is one change that I don’t want to think about. Back in the baby days, my weight would go up and down with each birth, but I always managed to get it back to my pre-baby weight, at least for a while. Now, I seem stuck with this excess poundage. To use a few clichés: Talk is cheap; I need to face the music.

We’ve been through numerous changes of residence, from four rooms total to four bedrooms, but only within two states. Now, it’s time to move again, not by our choice. We’ve been waiting nearly a year to find out exactly when his move will take place. All we know is that it will be sometime this year. And that it will be to Birmingham. Alabama. Unless God has other plans for us.

The number of people in our home has gone up and down. From the two of us in 1978 to the six of us in 1989. Three of the four kids have come back for short periods of time, plus two other family members were under our roof as well, one for a few months, one for a year. We’ve had various dogs and cats and now we just have Loretta.

We’ve experienced the birth of children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. And the death of family members and friends. Graduation celebrations abounded, three in a row from 1998-2000 which included me from college and our oldest two from high school. We’ve made friends with people from all walks of life through numerous churches, jobs, and neighborhoods.

I am thankful to God for all of this life – the good and the bad. I am thankful He has been there always, even when I fell away from following Him as I should. I am looking to Him for my future, for who else is there to sustain me?

Marriage Musings

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Today I was looking for a quote to include on a card for a wedding shower tomorrow. I found a few gems that I’d like to share.

This is the one I used: 

  “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” This was from Ruth Bell Graham who was the wife of Billy Graham. I can relate to this so well. I have needed a lot of forgiving over the years. Plus, I like her name since mine is the opposite – Graham Bell! 

Here are some more:

 “Enjoy the little things in life… For one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things.” – Kurt Vonnegut.  This goes along with my blog from yesterday.

“I got gaps; you got gaps; we fill each other’s gaps.” – Rocky Balboa. This was probably the only intelligent thing he ever said –lol! I love it because I can really apply it. My husband has always been more cautious or alert about potentially dangerous things or situations, whereas I have been either naive or a bit too free. We certainly balance each other out in a lot of ways.

“They say it takes a village to raise a child. That may be the case, but the truth is that it takes a lot of solid, stable marriages to create a village.” Diane Sollee. I love this one and can’t really add more.

“To keep the fire burning brightly, there’s one easy rule: keep the two logs together, near enough to keep each other warm and far enough apart — about a finger’s breadth — for breathing room. Good fire, good marriage, same rule.” – Mamie Reed Crowell.  I really like this analogy. That breathing room part is so important. About a finger’s breadth.

   Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years.”  – Simone Signoret   This is so beautiful!

Challenge for today: Keep sewing together with those hundreds of tiny threads.