Wednesday, December 17, 2008


My life is surrounded by tears these days. Connor falls and he cries. Kinsey takes something away from him and he cries. He takes something away from her and she cries.

I don't cry much. Compelling, sweeping music accompanied by some images can really get me a little teary. Watching relationships restored can bring some blurriness. But I don't often sob.

I did last Wednesday night.

On Wednesday nights, we get home late. We typically are at church until 8:20 or 8:30 cleaning up and talking with friends. Then it's another 20 minutes home, creating late nights for the kids. These days, Sheryl takes care of Connor's bedtime and I take care of Kinsey's. She'll pick out a book and either I'll read it, or I'll have her read it, and last Wednesday night, she picked out The Giving Tree, a book I've loved since I was a little boy and my parents read to me.

We read through it and as I started to read, I started getting tears in my eyes, because here I was, reading the story of a boy grows up seeking after the "good" things in life and the tree completely pours out itself for the boy. But what got to me was seeing the joy in this boy and then watching him grow out of that and away from that, and the sadness of the tree. And when in the final scenes, the boy returns as an old man and the tree (now a stump) pulls itself up for him to sit and just enjoy each other's presence, I began to seriously cry. Because I was seeing my future with my kids. They are going to grow away from me. Sheryl and I won't be the primary influences in their lives and they will lose some of the joy they have now.

Kinsey, of course, was completely confused, and asked me why I was crying like that. And through my tears, I tried to explain that it was a combination of being happy and sad: happy that I had such beautiful children that I loved so and that loved me and Mommy, but sad that these times won't last forever, that they were going to grow up and move away and they wouldn't be our little children any longer. They'll always be our children, but things change and people grow up. And as I did that, the tears became stronger, and all of a sudden, Kinsey sits up in her bed, now with tears springing to her eyes, and hugged me tight: "Oh Daddy! I'll always be your girl!"

We clung to each other for a couple of minutes and then broke apart with a little chuckle to go get a tissue to wipe our eyes and noses. We prayed for each other, thanking God for each other and the love that we have. I kissed her, turned out her light, and she fell asleep quickly.

It was one of the most special times I've ever had. A little physical manifestation of the love that a father and daughter can have with each other, and on those days that we don't get along, I will hold that as an ember.


Jim Voorhies said...

On my great-nephew's ninth birthday, our niece bawled like crazy because she came to the sudden realization that, at nine, he'd been living with them for about half of the time before he move out and begin to be a man. (he's 28 now.)

Katie said...

The father/daughter bond doesn't ever die. At least, that's my own experience with my father.

Kinsey will always look up to you, admire you, and cherish her time with you, even if she doesn't always say it or show it (remember than for the teen years, and beyond).

When she's older, she'll still need you. You might have to aproach her, more than she approaches you (my dad and I had several years where he bombarded me with phone calls, random postcards in the mail, and an occasional quick visit just to take me out to dinner), but she will always come back around.

My dad and I are still very close, and with my marriage coming up, I thank God every day for the fact that my dad and I are great friends, and he'll be there to walk me down the isle. (although he admitted to the me the other day that he might need one of his brothers to serve as co-walker just to hold him up because he'll probably fall to pieces).

Matthew said...

Sweet story, I have a little girl too so it really touched me. Also, I hear a lot of crying too.

Clarissa said...

I miss my daddy. :)

You'll be amazed at how much the little things you do even now will be remembered and impactful even 20 or 30 years from now -- and I assume even further out. I think of him often and what he would do or what he would think of what I say or do, etc. How he would react to a movie; how he would treat a person.

I know you're a good daddy.

judy thomas said...

Yep, books and music can do that to me too. The older I get, the more easily I cry. Judy Thomas

amanda said...

seriously, that makes me cry thinking of my own relationship with daddy. i can think of a few situations where daddy's opinion was the most influential. this post makes me want to go hug my parents tighter than ever.

Dan said...

yesterday sitting at work, that stupid song 'Cinderella' by good ol Steven came Baby Doll (now shortened to Ba'll) just turned 11. I look back and think of all the missed chances i've had, remember her holding my face with her tiny little hands to give me 'millions of billions of kisses' yesterday as i sat at my desk weeping, I vowed never to listen to that rotten song again. (And when I got home I held my Ba'll till dinner time)

livelaughlove95 said...

Catching up on reading and you totally just made me cry in Fido! Sheesh.

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