Letters to my Children: Most Women do it!

Dear Malina,

The other night I laid down with you while you fell asleep.  As I covered you up and took my place on the pillow beside you, there was an instant change. You went from being half awake to bursting with life, and energy, and words. You kept talking and talking, sometimes about something in the room, sometimes a quote from your favorite movie. As I lay there, warm and tired, your words fade into the background.

Moments later, something startled me and I realized I had dozed off. I also realized that you were still talking. Only now you were on your side, facing me with your head propped up by one hand, just talking away.

I never knew it started so young, and I started to laugh.photo

When your Mom and I first got married, I discovered that her brain and communicative functions became increasingly active as soon as she was lying down.  Even now there are days when we fall in to bed, exhausted from a grueling day of work, children, schedules, and commitments.  And yet, as soon as we lay down, your Mother turns on her side, and wants to know my opinion on immigration, or share thoughts about how to grow our relationship, or the best strategy for planning for your future. In the stillness and quiet of the night, she is alive with hopes and dreams and to-do lists, and friendly banter, while I do my best to emit very  thoughtful and caring grunts to show I am still engaged. After a while, I pretend to reach up to the top of her head, and feel around for the “off” switch. She says, “ok….I’m done” and we drift off to sleep.

I don’t understand this behavior, as it is obviously the sign of a higher functioning species than me.  And I don’t know if this is true of all women, I only know that when I share this observation, it is usually met with agreeing nods and smiles.

So I kiss your forehead and tell you to lie back down.  Turning over, I pretend to go back to sleep. You continue talking to yourself for a few minutes, and then, having spoken enough words for the day, you fall asleep.

When I see you, Malina, I see your Mother in so many ways, and the other night was yet another reminder.

So keep talking honey, and I’ll do my best to always keep listening.

Love,

Dad.

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Letter to My Daughter: We’re more than Friends

Dear Malina,

There is a tricycle that you love to ride even though you can’t touch the pedals. The only way for you to ride with your brother and sister, is for me to stand on the back of the tricycle, lean over you to hold the handle bars, and push with one foot like a skateboard….You love it.

But recently, while we were out cruising the streets around our house, you kept pushing my hands away from the handle bars.  You wanted to steer, and if you were going to steer, then I had to let go. But you weren’t ready for me to let go. I had already caught you several times to keep you from falling.  You could barely sit in the seat and reach the handle bars, let alone steer.  But you insisted, and when I wouldn’t let go, you threw a pretty impressive fit in the middle of the road.

While you were stomping your feet, my developing “parental brain” was running the calculations — evaluating the risk of letting you go your own way compared to the expected outcome, measured against the “show” you were putting on for people driving by our little “display”.  In the end, I decided to steer….and you decided to fall down from the bike and flop like a fish….You didn’t like me very much in that moment.

This is something I’m learning about parents.  Sometimes, parents think that getting their children to “like” them is the sign of a good parent. So instead of doing what they know is best for their children, they give them control, let them steer their lives before they are ready.

But Malina, Your Mommy and I love you too much to simply give you what you want, or to be just one of your friends.  The responsibility that God has given us, is not simply to make you a friend, but to train you up, and guide you, and correct you. We’ve been told to help you grow and prepare, to challenge you, protect you, and celebrate all that you are becoming.

Eventually you got back on the tricycle, we made our way back home and you liked me again.

Eventually, I know I will have to let you steer, and fall down…on tricycles and in life. With God’s help, your Mommy and I will do all that we can to prepare you to live a life loving God, other people, and the world around you. And as your friends, we will walk with you every step of the way, for as long as we can.

Love,

Your Dad.

Next Friday my “Letters to My Children” series will move to its own site. I hope you will make plans to check it out, invite others and follow along.

Letter to my daughter: Something you said

Typically the “Letters to My Children” series runs on Fridays, but I’m finding that there are always things that come up during the week that I have to get down on paper. So I am writing a letter on Wednesday and Friday this week.

Dear Adeline,

You were in the car with me today as we dropped Evan off at school. On the way back, we were talking about the weather, the clouds, and storms. Then, after a few moments of quiet, listening to the hum of the road, you started talking again. “Hey daddy….if we were in a boat….and um….and there was a storm….Jesus would, Jesus would just walk out on the water and rescue us.” You said this as you made the walking motion with two of your fingers, walking them up your arm.

“That’s true honey” I said. A moment of silence. “Because Jesus will rescue us from every storm” you said.  I started to laugh. Not because what you said was funny, but because I was amazed. You soak in everything at this age, from the conversations that Mommy and I have, the stories we read before bed, and the lessons you learn in your bible study.  I was also amazed because, at just three years of age, you spoke a truth about life that you don’t fully understand yet. At this age you are learning the lines to a story you have not had a chance to live. It’s like outlining a picture that only time will allow you to fully color.

Adeline, I don’t know what the picture of your life will be, but whether you are three or thirty-three, what you said today in the car will always be true. If you find yourself in a storm, Jesus will always walk out to you….always.  While you may still have to face the storm, you will never face it alone.

Thank you for the reminder.

Love,

Your Dad.

This post is part of my “Letters to My Children” series. You can read more about it by clicking here.