Saturday, June 18, 2011

Baba, Papa, Daddy-O

I’ve always been close with my dad.  When my sister and I were young, he was very affectionate, very loving, very encouraging.  He worked hard for us, and would come home smelling of car grease and cigarettes.  I remember his dark blue mechanic’s uniform and the black grease under his fingernails.

But fixing cars was never his passion.  My father is a singer, a performer at heart.  He was a stage actor, he would tell jokes, and he loved to recite poetry.  Though only completing a sixth grade education, he loved to read and continued to educate himself, especially in the arts.  I loved watching him perform in plays, and remember him complaining to my mom while reading lines that he always got the most lines in the script to memorize.

Everywhere we went, my dad would be asked to sing.  Banquets, luncheons, baptisms, even just visiting people’s homes.  At first I would shy away, rolling my eyes, embarrassed that dad was singing yet again.  But as I got older and learned to appreciate his talent, I couldn’t help but feel proud.

One time, when I was a senior in high school, my dad and I got into a fight.  Well, we never really fought, but I disappointed and upset him.  I was out with my friends and stayed past my curfew.  He came where I was and picked me up… in front of all my friends.  I was mortified.  Things were tense for a weekend, and then we made up.  I never wanted to disappoint him again.

My father filled me with confidence, independence, poise and self-assurance.  He had faith in me to become anything I wanted to be.  He always encouraged me to be hardworking, assertive and classy.  The most important lesson he taught me was “marmeeneet arjekuh keedtzeer” – know the value of your body.  He knew I was worthy and valuable, and he taught me to always see myself that way.

He also gave me the gift of a healthy marriage to emulate.  He loved and honored my mother, and he showed it.  I think in all of my life I only heard them argue one time.  He would have died for her; instead he had to watch her die.

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My father-in-law is one of the godliest men I have ever known.  His life is faith in action.  He loves the Lord, his wife, and his children – in that order.  He is humble and generous, openhanded with his time, attention, support and efforts.  He has a heart for the Lord that is insatiable in its seeking.  He hungers for ways to know Him more, whether through studying or serving.

My father-in-law is relaxed and fun to be around.  He has a biting sense of humor, and puts everyone at ease.  We love spending time with him, and our kids love their Papa.

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Speaking of kids, mine have the best daddy around.  Jayson is loving yet firm, not afraid to discipline.  Our boys are drawn to him like magnets, always wanting to be near him.  He is so affectionate with them, and they reciprocate by constantly needing to touch him when they are next to him – Silas will stretch his leg over Jayson, while James leans into his arm.  They cannot be near him without somehow physically touching him.

Jayson’s spiritual headship is the best lesson to our boys in raising them to be godly men.  He is teaching by his example that we follow God’s Word, and that is our way of life.  He also reinforces that they must respect women, work hard, and treat people with compassion.

* * * * *

I am so blessed to have these three men in my life.  Happy Father’s Day Daddy, Jerry and Jayson, and to all fathers past, present and future.

OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.

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