June 21, 2011

To My Dad

I wanted to write a post for Father's Day... and telling the story of one of my favorite memories from our recent weekend in San Diego seemed fitting.  I hesitate to share this story, because it touches on the deep hurt I experienced when my parents (married for 30+ years) divorced shortly after Alejandro and I got married.  But the magnitude of the blessing of this story wouldn't be fully understood if I don't share it all, so here goes...  

When my parents split up, my world seemed to crumble, even though I was already an adult.  Divorce tears apart kids' lives.  It doesn't matter how old they are.  One of the things I cried and cried over was the loss of a hope of mine:  I always wanted my kids to have Godly grandparents who exemplified a Christ-centered marriage into their old age.  I want my kids to grow up spending time seeing the different generations of their family doing life well.  When my parents divorced, I thought that dream was long lost.  I mourned it like the death of a friend and learned to let it go and even forget about it.  

My Dad has been a guitar-player in a worship band at his church (and before that, in his previous church) for as long as I can remember.  He started playing before I was born and hasn't quit since.  One of my most cherished memories was when I was a young child.  Dad would serenade us to sleep by singing praise songs on his guitar.  The memory is still etched in my mind.  I would lay on my side, holding my pillow, watching my Dad.  He sat where the light of the hallway allowed him to see the chords (not that he hardly looked) and finger-picked as he gently sung, "Father in Heaven, hear my prayer...  keep me in thy loving care..."  And I would breathe deep and watch my Dad praise Jesus in his favorite way.  

A week and a half ago Friday night around 7p.m., after arriving in San Diego that morning and after a full day of water play, barbecue, toy cars and running around the living room, Danny was plenty tired out and ready for bed.  We all helped to put the toys away.  We all helped to get the office set up so Danny could sleep uninterrupted.  I got Danny's pajamas on.  Alejandro brushed Danny's teeth.  And right when we were about to encourage Danny to give his grandparents kisses goodnight, Dad walked into the living room with his guitar. 

I smiled.  

Grandma Jeanne, my Dad's new wife, asked Danny if he wanted to sit with her and he immediately climbed up onto her lap and settled in with a peaceful contentment like I have never seen him have with someone so quickly.  

Dad started strumming lullabies.  Dad, Jeanne and Alejandro sang worship songs to Jesus...

...while tears streamed silently down my cheeks.  

What a gift.  What an unexpected wonderful gift that had been returned to me.  

Dad, you chose well.  It took a while to pick up the pieces and put your life back together.  When you thought you'd never have to choose again, you chose well.  My son got to spend four days with Godly grandparents in a Christ-centered home and watch his Grandpa and Grandma Jeanne do life well.  

I hope that this legacy you are leaving is at least half the gift to you that it is to me.  

Happy Father's Day, Dad.
I love you.