The nurturing of small children comes to mind. The need to pick up those who have fallen. To carefully apply Bactine and kisses to knee scrapes – washing away their crocodile tears.
What then does a Father do when his time passes? When the need to nurture seems lost to his child’s impression of adulthood? When there are no more knee scrapes to be cleaned, and no more late night discussions of what they may one day become.
Your princesses have become queens. Your prince a king. And, we, who were once the center of their universe no longer receive those awful tears we once cherished so very much.
The truth of a man’s life is in his posterity. Whether they become strong by overcoming their adversity, or weak, for their failure to know empathy. Whether they can impart wisdom in the life of their own children, or are mired in selfishness – that their attempts at parenting exclude those things most important. The family that raised them to meet their own challenges head-on.
He is the sentinel. Standing guard to ward away what lives in the closet.
He is the champion of valor and virtue his daughters use to compare their choice of spouse.
He is the rock of their family’s existence and direction.
Without him, there is loss.
He is the voice of hope. When money needs to be spent for that instrument or dress.
He is the teacher. Deciding when to fight and when to walk away.
He is the rock. Fending off all that would disrupt or threaten, in selflessness.
Without him, there is confusion.
He is the giant. Meeting Goliath on the battlefield and overcoming.
He is the bear. When strong arms are needed to hold you.
He is the stalwart son of a true and living God.
Without him, there is indecision.
For He is also the man who cries where no one can see his tears.
He is the man who kneels in prayer in private moments to repent of his weakness.
He is the man who can bear any burden that his children may have their life.
Without him, they must live.
He is the one who must give away his son – to become one of these men, and father.
He is the man who must give away his daughters to another.
He is the man who must await that singular phone call on Father’s Day – if it comes.
Without them, there is loss.
Renewed to hear just once more that name of one so revered; “Father“, “Dad”, or “Daddy.”
It has been more than 10 years since I have had a Father’s Day greeting. A card, well wishes, or even a kind word. Such is the product of a broken home. Feelings and desires to protect and defend still remain. The need to reach out and sooth those broken hearts never stop. And forgiveness is never an issue.
On this Father’s Day, I start anew…
I reach out, once more to say… I love you. Whether you return to me or no. Whether I am ever a part of your life again, you remain a part of me. The challenges and opportunities you have are a result of the way you were raised. Not perfect. Not completely sound. But, with the strength you have garnered to fight on through adversity.
I do not know why it had to be this way. Nor had I ever wanted it to be so. But the words I gave to you that strengthened you in those nights I was torn from you – came. And now, have gone away. The tide of harshness and unreality has given way to peace. There are no lies that remain. Only the reality of my life lived apart. Replaced in your hearts by some unknown precept – that precludes forgiveness. Preventing the truth of so many years to quiet troubled hearts. Defying the faith in Christ that you proclaim so fervently. This, I never taught you.
This day, I proclaim; “My Children’s Day.”
That I may celebrate your birth, your life, your faults and successes.
The right to be imperfect… and still be cherished. Loved.
Happy “Children’s Day”… Neal, Jennifer and Emily!