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One mother bragged, “My son spent a thousand dollars on me, buying me a new coat!”
Another topped, “Well, my son spent tens of thousands on me, buying me a new car!”
“Really? That’s nothing!” said a third, “My son spends hundreds of dollars every WEEK talking to a therapist about nothing but ME!”
I have felt like that third mother sometimes – it might be my kids saying it one day!
Whether they were good, bad or ugly, parents leave indelible prints on our lives. Recently losing my amazing father four years after my mother has left some holes in my heart for sure. When parents pass the baton, it feels like a heavy responsibility to hold, while the foundation on which we stand has just gained a giant HOLE! Although my dad’s public “celebration of life” is waiting out the pandemic’s ban on gatherings and traveling, nothing stops me from writing some things about Dad to celebrate! I figured I could catch up in writing a few memories to YOU!
Dad’s are important. Duh.
“In an analysis of over 100 studies on parent-child relationships, it was found that having a loving and nurturing father was as important for a child’s happiness, well-being, and social and academic success as having a loving and nurturing mother.” I have heard that a father’s relationship with his daughter may have the single most relational impact on her view of her Heavenly Father. Yet, research indicates that, among other advantages, sons who feel a closeness and warmth with their father are twice as likely to enter college and 80 percent less likely to be incarcerated. I don’t say all these things to say mothers aren’t important, but just to celebrate the man I called, “Dad,” because I had a great one! I am grateful for his impact on my life; he gave me every advantage in the book. I always wanted a husband who would influence my children the same way. (And God blessed me with him!).
To kick off my “celebration of Dad’s life,” let’s start with the “peanut butter cookies” story, since it’s a favorite. I have told it before when Shouting Out to Dads, but I was surprised how many mentioned it to me when hearing of my recent loss. This great memory not only makes me want to be a better person, but teach my kids what “grace” really means.
It was a “bad” day when I was a teen. I had wanted to give my brothers a special treat of peanut butter cookies. (I was always such the perfect sister and the innocent victim in every story…because I am the one writing it today; ha! It didn’t hurt that peanut butter cookies were my favorite, too.) I prepared the dough and put the cookies into the oven, and per normal went to kill the 8-minutes of cooking time playing the piano. The piano must have been louder than the kitchen timer, because the cookies ended up burning. I had put too many in the oven, too, so most of the batch was instantly ruined. Of course my brothers came into the kitchen at that exact moment, while the stench of the burn choked any house occupants. I was embarrassed. They laughed, asking if I was using the smoke detector as my timer again. One grabbed a cookie and headed outside, saying he was going to play hockey with it – “anyone want to join me?” he yelled back.
It was then that my father returned from his long day at work. I sat, dejected, ready to hear the words of shock from him too, as I lamented my error. My father (silently of course) walked over to the cookie trays which were still cooling (smoking?) on the counter, scanned the goods, grabbed a cookie and stated, “Great! Someone finally made cookies just the way I like them!” He proceeded to eat burnt cookie after burnt cookie, like Cookie Monster in bliss. My face softened to a grin. I don’t know what kind of work day my dad had had at the glass-making facility, but I know what kind of day he helped me to have.
In my adult years when I reminded him of this story, he claimed he didn’t remember it. That’s just who he was. And it’s who I want to be: someone willing to happily eat burnt cookies, taking seen and unseen burdens off of someone else. That’s grace. That was my DAD!!
Love ya, miss ya,
grace |ɡrās| noun:
- courteous goodwill:
- (in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners through Jesus Christ .