This is my Dad. This is the beer brewery he just bought (as an investment, not to support a habit, thankfully). These are my conservative, christian, home-schooled sons, touring the brewery and loving it.
When we travel back to our little hometown in Washington, we stay with John’s Dad and Claudia. They go out of their way to make us feel welcome. The beds are always made up in crisp sheets, the toy boxes full, favorite cereals bought for the kids. We just step right in to sharing with them, the newspaper and coffee pot, the chores and meal prep that make daily life in John’s childhood home, home.
My Dad doesn’t have a home to share with us, because of life choices. This, occasionally, still makes me very sad. With maturity and not-just-a-little of God’s grace I have come to see the way in which my Dad shares with us, too. He shares what he IS, which is a risk-taker, a businessman, an entrepreneur. Each time we go back, he proudly takes us on a little tour of the latest house/property/business he has just bought. He enthusiastically gives us a running commentary on what it cost, what it’s worth, who might be buying it, what his plans are. He laughs and tells his grandsons to help themselves to the boxes of paperclips and bottle caps and rubber bands, supplies in old desk drawers. My father told my sons how my brother and I did the same thing and I was stunned at how deeply I was touched, that he remembered that little detail. We did love that. And he remembered how we called it scavenging. The pure treasure it was to a 10 year old, all the junk people leave behind. To a child, everything has value. How I pray that belief sticks with me, and with my sons. Because it’s an eternal view. That things are not what they seem. That everything has value. That nothing-and no one-is beyond redemption.
This is Caleb’s list of favorite things. He spent 3 thoughtful days creating it. You see how he put #1. Legos? and then hastily added a #0. for God? I love that his heart saw the mistake, backed up and tried to make it right. God first. It’s not our first instinct, to be sure, but it’s okay to change the order, the priorities, the LIST to reflect what we know is best- He’s a loving Father “for He knows our frame, that we are but dust“#2. Hobbes (his stuffed tiger) #3. candy. (sign of a healthy American 8 year old boy) #4. vacation (amen and amen) #5. balloons (love this) #6. Super Smash Bros. (on the wii) #7. Mom (wow. I made the list. despite making him finish veggies, schoolwork and bed-making) and you see, pencilled in there next to me? “and Dad”. I may have slipped to #7 but at least I was first so neener neener John! #8 hot cocoa. (I beat hot cocoa? that’s like the Mommy equivalent of an Oscar, right?) and finally, #9. drawing.
Caleb and Caitlin, enjoying the dress up clothes and play fighting. We don’t have gold satin dresses, sparkly tiaras or sequined high heels (okay, yes. I admit to having them but I am not sharing) so Caity makes do with what is available. A Bionicle mask and a plastic sword.
Do you expect wildlife interactions and nature studies in Taco Bell parking lots? The boys spent a few minutes feeding this pretty Mallard duck hen and Sam asked, in alarm, “Wait. Does Taco Bell SERVE duck?!”