Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Joy in the Morning

The following tale is one that may lead many to exorcise the mental images to follow. Be warned; be ware.

This morning found me running a little late; therefore I had just stepped out of the shower when I heard the rap on the restroom door.

"Who is it?", I asked...

"It's me, Madilyn" came the cheerful, almost giddy response. "Oh, great", I thought, as I stood there wearing only a towel and a mouthful of toothbrush.

"Just a minute", I yelled, as I quickly toweled off so I could slip into the clothes that nobody but me sees; the clothes I wear under the clothes that I wear that everybody sees.

"Whaddya need, Sweet Pea?" I asked through the final rinse of Colgate toothpaste. "I just need a hug, Daddy", she sang. "I need a Daddy hug before I go to school".

While my heart melted and I slipped on my clothes, I heard her say "I'll just give you a hug through the door", and she proceeded to hug me in her mind, complete with the soothing sweet sounds of a 10-year-old's gi-normous hug.

Now that just would not do. Still a little damp and barely clothed, I opened the door to see her standing there, with her arms crossed and eyes closed, hugging me in her mind. She wore a smile that could outshine the Milky Way galaxy on a sunny day.

Now with my heart full, I gave her the biggest hug I could, and sent her off, smiling the joyful smile of a contented little girl.

Have you ever seen another person's expression when they hug you and they don't know you can see their face? Their expression tells the true story. In my sweet girl's opinion, it was better for her to hug me in her mind than to go without. Now it wasn't a fake or pretend hug, either. It was all or nothing, open for all the world to see. And I was privileged to get a rare glimpse of the joy my little one gets from loving, and being loved, by me.

The way I was dressed, it's good that her eyes were closed. My eyes, however, have been opened.

Love you, Mads.

Life is Good!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Birthdays, Memories, and Hope

I am sitting at the kitchen counter while two tattooed and frizzled gentlemen deodorize, sanitize, sporicide, and otherwise clean my carpets. The chemical smell has done wonders for my sinuses, and the noise is frightening. Their constant coughing leads me to believe that I may be better off with all the scary microbes living in my carpets.

I have a while before I can go into the living room (or the bedroom or the bathroom), and my mind wanders to the calendar for the weekend. I see it again, and it only amazes, excites, and depresses me all at the same time- our son's birthday is in two days. Nineteen? Who'd ever believe that a kid who played with a tazer in his college dorm or who built a potato gun that runs on hair spray or who wears a rainbow clown wig on his FaceBook status photo is that old.

Our son is a freshman in college, and for the first time in his life, will celebrate without his family. We are involved in a new church start in our community, and are deeply committed to its development. The drive time to his campus is over 10 hours one way; not bad, but requires three days for a visit. There are many more excuses, but they really sound weak when I think of them. Of course, he could come home, but then again- the trip requires three days, and he only has two days between classes on the weekend.

Of this I am sure- he will fare far better than his parents and his little sister. He is active on his campus, in the local church, and every now and then takes a little time to study. He has made new friends, and will find plenty to help him celebrate.

We will celebrate here, without him. We are planning to barbecue a pork shoulder; my beautiful wife is baking, and we have tickets to Mamma Mia (final night!). It should be a whale of a wing-ding....

But still, I miss that little boy who used to ride on my foot; who threw up in my shirt pocket on my way to the pulpit to start the church service; who wrecked his bike and spent time in the ER to sew up his beautiful face. I even miss the kid who always needed money, who bought weird stuff with it, and then stuck it in his closet never to be seen again.

Those memories and thousands more are locked safely away safely in my heart where my memory cannot lose them. There, they are safe; they are mine.

I have so much confidence in him! Our son is a people person; an influencer of people with a beautiful personality and a crooked smile (see bike wreck above). He offers so much- and with that, he gives me hope. Hope for a successful college career; hope for beautiful daughter-in-law and grandkids; hope that I won't have to repay his college loans.

And while we might miss a birthday or two while he is in college, we look forward to the man he will become; no, the man he is becoming.......

If he stays away from college geeks with tazers.

Love you, son.

These chemicals are sure hard on my tear ducts......