MY TWO KIDS ARE GONE.
My son is married and living a few miles west with his two ladies. It’s legal. One lady barks.
My daughter is about to be married. We’ll dance the wedding waltz in October. She lives a few miles north.
This house used to be noisy. Giggling girls, high school band geeks, and kids sprawled across the floor circling a board game.
It’s mostly quiet now, except when Buddy the Dog barks.
My son stopped by our house this week to drop off a wheelbarrow and steel files he had borrowed from me. He came inside, sat down, and drank an Orange Crush with my wife and me. We chatted a while, and he was off.
Here is something my kids don’t know. It’s what I’m thinking when we’re together:
How lucky am I? They’re here with me now. They’re mostly gone, living their lives – as it’s supposed to be. But they’re here with me now.
There’s something else they don’t know.
I think they hesitate to ask me to help them with mundane chores. Fixing something around the house, moving dirt, painting walls.
It would be rational for them to think it’s an imposition to ask for my help. But there’s nothing rational about being a parent – it’s an irrational job. As evidence, I would submit: I’d gladly, happily, downright cheerfully do just about anything to be around them.
I wouldn’t be thinking, “Oh rats, I’ve got to go help fix the fence. And it’ll probably take all of my Saturday morning.”
I’d be thinking, “I can’t wait. I get to spend a few hours with them.”
Father’s Day is coming. Sunday. I’ve asked my kids not to get me anything.
I don’t want stuff.
I want people.
I want to see their person. Or at least hear their voice. A visit or a call.
What parent would not want that more than any substitute gift that UPS could deliver?
The best gift doesn’t come in a box or a bag.
“Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?…Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children!” (Psalm 127:3, 5 The Message).
I don’t know about needing a quiver full. I think quality trumps quantity. But I do know that of all the gifts my wife and I have ever received, the best gifts look just a little bit like we did in our younger days.
They’re the 2.0 upgrade.
Major AMEN to all the above!!!!!
Stephen M. Miller
Thanks, old friend. And by old, I mean longtime, not elderly.
OK, you made me tear up…AT WORK! It reminds me of when I cleaned Ethan’s dorm bathroom when his roommate moved out. It wasn’t a walk in the park and Ethan kept apologizing, but I was secretly happy that he NEEDED me, in whatever regard. Happy Father’s Day to a great dad! 🙂
Stephen M. Miller
Thanks Kathy. Sorry for the tears. If it’s any conciliation, nobody tears up at anything I write before I tear up. At work.
I figured that what I am feeling is fairly common among parents who love their kids. We are blessed to have them in our lives, traveling with us on our journey. It’s nice being in loving company.
Very good writing my friend…makes me wish I had a kid instead of a Kindle lol….nope, I don’t want BUddy the Dog!
Very well expressed emotions of what most of us parents are feeling! We wish we could be nearer to the kids and spend more time with them too! We keep teasing them to have that extra bedroom ready….we might come and stay for a month or two! (They don’t laugh!)
Stephen M. Miller
Thanks, Cathy. So far, I can only imagine how hard it is to live so far away from your boys. We’ll keep a close eye on one of them for you. I’ll see Jon on Sunday, after he golfs with Brad.