Lifetime of Love

“It’s ok Mom, we know you love us!”  Kimberly, my 13 yr-old, was assuring me that she didn’t mind that I had forgotten to put the red food coloring into our traditional Valentines Day breakfast.  Pink milk, pink, heart-shaped pancakes and pink buttermilk syrup are the usual fare.  Before church on Sunday I hurried to  prepare pancakes, buttermilk syrup and milk… it wasn’t until we were almost done with breakfast that I realized that the pancakes were round and that nothing was pink.
I knew it wasn’t a big deal, but Kimberly’s reassurance reminded me that there are so many little things we do that does express love.  Words are important.  Hugs are important.  Kindness is important.  Service is important.    Fun holiday traditions are good too, but sometimes don’t mix well with getting to church on time….

My friend recently told me of a lady she knows that has decided that when her children reach a certain age, she will no longer express her love for them through words or hugs.  Apparently they will no longer need those things.?? Well… I do not know what age that would be… I am nearing the half-century mark and I still need and expect this from my parents.  It breaks my heart to hear of such a parenting theory and I am grateful that my parents loved us children so completely – and expressed it in word and deed.

Well, here we are.  This photo was already
on my blog, so I probably wrote about
Dad on his last birthday also.  Oh well,
Happy Birthday Dad!!
Dad in high school

Yesterday my dad turned 75!  How did that happen?  Isn’t he in his 30’s, patiently showing me how to tie my shoe and encouraging me as I learn to roller skate?  He is pushing us on the swings… giving us a “run-under” so that we can swing higher than the birds.  Now we are hiking on the California coast and he is stopping to break off leaves of various shrubs, smell them and tell us about that particular plant. He is full of boyhood stories of similar times spent hiking these same trails.  I’m in high school and he patiently helps me understand how to solve a word problem in Algebra.  Years before he
helped me learn to write an essay.   He is in his late 40’s and driving me home from college for the summer, teaching me that deserts are beautiful, that all of the world is full of beauty if we will just look for it.  For a couple years my summer job is at his firm and we occasionally drive into the hills to eat our lunch, enjoying the views while eating peanut butter sandwiches together.  He is in his early 50’s and I have just had my first baby boy.  He thinks he is alone with the baby and doesn’t know I am watching him as he coos and makes nonsense sounds – have I ever loved him more?  He enters his 60’s.  We both love photographs, stories, and family history.  We both want to be always outdoors, always breathing fresh air, tending plants and enjoying quiet moments.  I realize he is the most intelligent person of my acquaintance.  I try to practice what he preaches… if you think something is unpleasant – change your attitude and suddenly it is enjoyable (he is better at that than I am).

I am in Junior High School –
and I knew my parents loved me!

So now he is 75 – I talked to him on the phone yesterday.  He had just come out of the theatre – they had gone to see the new Star Wars.  It was a bit emotional.  Why?  Almost 40 years ago we watched the original Star Wars together.  First our entire family went – we had been anxiously awaiting its release.  Then… wonder of wonders… Dad took my brother and I back again the next night.  And the next!  Although money was always tight – we saw that movie three times (or was it four?) in one week.  One memory is burned into our brains and our hearts – as we drove home our car became an X-wing fighter.  He put it into warp speed and we bravely battled the tie-fighters the whole way home particularly around that one corner near the 7-2-11.  All of these years later we remember it, we smile and we know that we love each other.

November 2014
Daddy-Daughter snapshot.
A lifetime of love!!

“I love you”  “I love you too”
Of course that is how we end all of our phone calls… and we mean it.  I expect to hear it, and I want to hear it.  Yet without it, I would still know.  My entire life I have known.  I knew my parents wanted to be parents.  I knew they loved being parents.  I knew they loved me.  When my dad speaks of having us all together as a young family he tears up.  They are the best of times.

I love my family.  I love my parents.  Even more, I love being a parent.  I adore my children.  I will always tell them, and I hope that I always show them.  I hope that my entire life reflects the deep feelings I have for motherhood.  What memories will they have of me on my 75th birthday?

Alternative Ending:
I don’t want to conclude there – because I have never doubted that my father loves me, I have never doubted that my Heavenly Father loves me.  Because I have experienced the deep love that I feel for my children and they cannot yet comprehend, I know that my Heavenly Father loves me with a depth that I cannot yet comprehend.  I cannot grasp it, but I am learning to trust it.  I am one of countless children and he loves us all.  How I wish I could share what I know with everyone.  I am just one person, one daughter.  I can do my best to share this love with my children, and they in turn can learn to share it with their children.  It can filter out through our home and our lives to our friends and to those with whom we interact.  We can make a difference!  Our Father would want us to!

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