Conversations with my four children aged five and under are never dull. Actually, in my experience, conversations with children of any age are always imaginative and often quite insightful. Sometimes, however, they include combinations of words that I could have never imagined uttering—or interpreting in any context.
For example, this past weekend, we enjoyed some precious time together as a family. It was a beautiful, sunny day, the birds were chirping, the kids were giggling and talking nonstop, and I was inside finishing up last minute preparations for us to head out for the day while my husband was outside in the garage, helping the kids climb into the car and buckle themselves into their car seats. I stopped for a second, pausing to enjoy the sound of my kids talking to their daddy – their hero, the one who, in their eyes, can fix anything, do anything and help them with anything. I stood in the kitchen drying my hands on one of my well-loved cotton dish towels and looked out my back windows at the trees in our backyard. I got caught up in my thoughts, thanking the Lord for giving me a man who is such a great dad and four beautiful, smart, healthy babies who make every day an adventure. I sometimes cry watching toilet paper commercials, so I wasn’t surprised to find I needed my trusty flour sack to wipe a few stray tears from my eyes as I told God thank you for allowing me to live such a blessed life.
I was jolted out of LaLa Land and back to reality when I heard the unmistakable sound of my husband’s “serious” voice above the happy chatter of our little angels:
“Don’t lick the car, son! That is not appropriate conduct for a human being!”
I had to laugh, because if you know my husband, you know that licking a car is about the furthest thing from the scope of possible activities in which he would ever engage. I tried to make sense of his words, because I couldn’t wrap my mind around the event that would make that particular admonition necessary. Who would see a car, and say to himself, “Hmmm, I wonder what that tastes like? I think I’ll lick it and find out.” I reminded myself Daddy was talking to a four-year-old, and four-year-old logic, while interesting and even cute, is frequently flawed. Certainly more reasonable than that of their two-year-old sisters, however, who may or may not require their fathers to say things like, “No, Paris, people cannot fly. Please don’t jump off of the table.”
What a perfect world it would be, though, if a daddy’s toughest task was to prevent kiddos from doing silly things like licking cars or jumping off of tables; But in today’s world, they’re having to say things they never thought they’d have to say. Dads are often called upon to say the hard things, “No, son, you can’t go. It doesn’t matter if all of your friends can; it’s not best for you.” Or, “I’m sorry, Baby, sometimes people say hurtful things, but just because they say them, it doesn’t make them true. You’re beautiful, and I love you!”
Our fathers and those who stand in their steads are some of the true heroes of our day.
And today we say thank you, not only for saying the hard things, but also for being the rocks we lean on when nothing else is sure. We say thank you for being the foundations our families are built upon so that we have a safe place from which to launch, and thank you for being the soft places to land when we find out making our own way isn’t as easy as you made it look. We thank you—dads, granddads, and all those who perform the role of a father—for standing tall for truth when the world says Biblical values are the weak man’s crutch, and of course, we can’t forget to thank you for keeping us from harm by reminding us not to lick the car!
Happy Father’s Day to my Daddy, who always will be his little girl’s hero and who remains my ever accurate measure of what a parent should be as I try to navigate the often overwhelming responsibility of parenting my four little world changers….
…to my father in law, who is a man of integrity who loves his family as fiercely as any man I’ve ever known,
…and to my husband, who has the heart of a servant, the strength of a warrior, and the mind of a king, and who is all I could ever have asked for and everything I never even knew I would need as the father of my children.