One of my first thoughts yesterday morning was of her. She came to our church with her best friend when I was young. One Father’s Day, we heard the ambulance sirens before we’d even left church. A few days later, I was in the church nursery during her dad’s funeral. And every Father’s Day, I wonder where she is, and pray for her.
But that is just the beginning of the mixed emotions. As I scurry around the house trying to quietly put breakfast on the table while my children and their daddy are still asleep, my heart aches for another friend. Not only is the daddy of her little boys fighting for our country in a far away land this Father’s Day. But her own dad turned his back on his family and everything he raised them to believe. Making this holiday one she doesn’t even want to think about right now.
I call my dad, who is headed out on a run with my little brother. I’d waited until my girls were up, because I knew that talking to them would be the best way to make his day (other than being there, of course, which doesn’t really work with a farmer’s schedule in June). His “card” from Ru didn’t quite make it to the mailbox on time, because her drawing of the moose she saw got a bit elaborate. But I can hear his smile through the phone as the girls chatter away. I tell him I love him and to have fun running.
I think of my cousins. Two whose dad (cousin to my own daddy) is finally without pain, after a long battle with cancer. And the dozen and a half I married into, whose dad was taken Home on a snowy day four Januarys ago.
The daddy of my own two girls snuggles next to me on the couch for a movie, some tapioca pudding, and hot chocolate. Then I watch him as he mows the lawn, surveying meanwhile the hay fields he must needs cut as soon as the weather clears.
“You have the bestest daddy ever,” I tell my girls.
“My Daddy is amazing,” Ru agrees, having heard the phrase from my lips so many times.
Mother’s Day brings with it one set of emotions. Father’s Day another. The one, babies, aching wombs, empty arms. The other, absence or silence, strength or lack of character.
My childhood is filled with so many happy memories, like the snapshots in the Country song “When Daddy Let Me Drive.” My respect and appreciation for my dad has only grown through the years.
And then I married a man whom I knew would make a good daddy. And oh how he has! Our girls adore him. And watching him with them only makes me fall more in love with the man my daughters call “Daddy.”
But as I thank God for these men He has put in my life, I ache for those who have “more pain than joy” this weekend. I don’t know what to say. I can only pray that they will feel the love of our God Who is Father to the fatherless. And that somehow, someday, they will be able to make new memories to celebrate this weekend.