But I do want to put down here, in writing,the most special memory of this past week.
Father's Day. While we were not able to all be together for church, we convened at our house afterwards for a crab feast. (My hands were already covered in Old Bay before I could get my camera out.) All four kids plus our daughter-in-law sat around the table, picking juicy meat out of good ole Chesapeake Bay crabs. We sure love those times. Relaxed. (Except Steve this year; the poor groom is a bit on overload.)
After the crab mess was cleaned up, the kids gave their cards and gifts to their dad. Then we were going to head right out to the driving range. It's been a semi-tradition, I guess.
But this Father's Day was different.
Paul asked them all to sit down again. He had something to share with them. The kids joked with an "Uh-oh. What's going on?" and the youngest made wise cracks in typical middle-school boy fashion. I reminded him what Pastor Joe said just this morning, "Kids, listen. If your dad is trying to have a moment with you, let him. Even if you've heard it five times or a hundred times, listen again. Make it easy on your dad."
The kids quieted down and took seats around the kitchen table again.
Paul then opened his laptop and said he had wanted to write to each of them an individual letter, but instead he addressed them individually in one letter. He began to read. From his heart to theirs.
But he couldn't get past the first line about the house being too quiet and the food lasting so much longer. He got choked up, wiped salty tears on his sleeve, and said, "I can't do this."
And he passed the letter to me. Me! Miss Waterworks! Again, the kids joked. "Dad! If YOU can't read it without crying, why in the world are you handing it to MOM??"
But by God's grace, I read through. Lump in my throast.
In his letter, Paul blessed each one of our four children--Ben, Sarah, Stephen, and Joel--with reassuring words of his love for them, telling them the gifts from God that he sees in them, and projecting a positive future on them.
I can't tell you how much that meant. My husband is a man of few words. He seldom expresses deep emotion verbally, and it takes a lot to bring tears to his eyes. All this time I have been thinking how hard it is for me, the mom, to let go of her kids one after another in rapid succession. My husband hasn't said much.
He keeps a lot to himself. But when he decides to let it out, he writes letters. He touches hearts, he makes us laugh, he captures his thoughts and shares them eloquently.
And then we cry and tell him how special that was.
We linger over the words.
We hug his neck.
We kiss him. (Some of us do.)
And the one with too much wedding stuff going on with his fiancee' must bid farewell at the curb.
The rest of us?
We go to the driving range to hit golf balls.
Even when the skies start to darken...
the father shelters his children and they keep swinging...
and we ask that father if he's waving a long shot buh-bye...
and we have to watch our funny boy get goofy with his stance, and we
wish he would wear shoes when swinging metal near his feet...
and we smile to see our girl play golf, uninhibited in her church clothes, as she gloats in her own cute way, clucking her cheek: "My golf teacher said I have a natural swing," ...
while her older brother, who has always been a natural at every sport, stands still and pensive over the ball
while his wife takes aim at the rain.
Happy rain from a full heart.
God the Father blessing us with his loving tears that fill us up and remind us how much He loves us.