Truly, one of life’s greatest blessings is being the father of four beautiful and healthy children. It’s such a joy teaching them, shepherding them, and loving them with my wife.
I first became a father a little over eleven years ago when my oldest son entered the world. It was a tumultous time for Bethany and me. Bethany gave birth to our son on a Thursday. The following day I was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army. The following week I was at Ft. Benning, Georgia for six weeks of infantry training before I went to Arizona for intelligence training. Every weekend I drove the 9 hours or so back to Middle Tennessee with an Army buddy who lived in a neighboring county. It was kind of God to pair me up with a friend. We took turns driving and downing 5 hour energy drinks to stay awake. It was an exhausting time, but I was thankful I got to see Bethany and our son every weekend. My aunt and uncle lived in Atlanta, and at least one weekend, Bethany met me there for the weekend.
One of the best aspects of being a dad is just the hilarity kids bring on a daily basis. Here’s an example.
Me: “Josh, your pants are on backwards.”
3 yr old Josh: “Did someone switch them around?”
Me: “Yeah. You did.”
Josh also enjoyed playing with his food as a toddler. I remember one occasion when we lived in Arizona that Josh wasn’t content to just play with his food. He decided to use his spoon to catapult chili at a friend from church who was having lunch with us. Josh was a good shot. Hit him right in the face.
Just this morning our youngest son Jonathan decided to dress up like me. He put on a black shirt to match me. He saw me put some gel in my hair. He wanted to follow suit, but decided to spray his hair with Fabreeze. I saw liquid running down his face and his hair all wet after the fact.
Me: “Tud (Jonathan’s nickname), what did you put in your hair?”
Jonathan: (Grinning mischieviously) “Nothing.”
Me: “Did you put hair spray in your hair?”
Me: (Smelling his hair) That’s not hairspray. That’s Fabreeze crazy!”
I reasoned that Jonathan had answered as truthfully (well at least for the second inquiry), because he had sprayed something in his hair. In his mind that made it “hair spray.”
Our oldest two have certainly done their fair share of mischevious acts. One day I came home from work and saw them in the kitchen floor. Our oldest Joseph (four years old at the time) had dumped some powdery substance all over his two year old sister Abigail. They had played in it like it was a sandbox. Upon closer inspection, I realized he had dumped an entire canister of baby powder on his sister. I have no idea how he pulled it off. Needless to say, Abigail smelled great for the rest of the day.
I remember searching endlessly one night for the Roku remote to watch some show with Bethany. About to give up the search, I finally found the remote. It was near the bottom of the refrigerator at about the height of a four year old.
As I thought about our kids and their silly acts, I realized how often they try to emulate me as a Father. My boys love to dress up in their Union Army uniforms and render salutes. Like all the time. I walk down the stairs and am saluted. I pull up in the driveway and am obligated to render a salute. It’s funny stuff. And I love it.
I’m thankful for a great father and a great childhood. My dad loved us so well (and still does). I realize not every one is so fortunate to have had a great upbringing. Some never get the chance to really know their father or have the opportunity to be a father. It grieves me that friends and loved ones have to battle through those difficult circumstances.
What I am most thankful for is my Father in Heaven. When we put our faith in Jesus and turn from our sin, He adopts us as sons and daughters (Galatians 4). It’s a pretty awesome relationship change. We go from enemies of God to sons and daughters. And when we make that decision, God celebrates Father’s Day in Heaven, because He has added a son or daughter to the family.