“It is not flesh and blood, but heart which makes us fathers and sons.” –Friedrich Schiller
Take a deep breath, and exhale. My hair explains just how frazzled I feel. It’s frizzy and sticking out in every direction, just like my thoughts. I look around the room. It’s full of boxes and the walls are bare. The last time I saw my things look like this was when I was moving into my parent’s house after my divorce. I cried like a baby when I moved to their house, and now I’m crying again leaving it…totally different reasons, of course, but still tears. Tomorrow is a new day, a new life, really. Michael and I are making our forever promises to one another. It’s my (well, really our) “happily ever after” day.
After months of preparation, weeks of packing and days of wedding showers and rehearsal dinners the BIG DAY has come. I kept thinking about my children and how they were adjusting to all of this change. They seemed to enjoy all of the fun activities leading up to the wedding day. I would check in with them often just to see where their little hearts were. You know, how were they feeling about all of this? This is such a huge life-changing deal. Not only is their momma getting remarried, she’s marrying their gym teacher!! He is going to be their step-dad. And, now we are all going to live together! I mean, they make movies out of stuff like this. How is this all going to work? How will our family function? There is no road map to follow for situations like this. It’s a lot for me to handle, I’m sure their little brains were blown, too.
I plop myself down on the couch in between wedding gifts and trash bags to become brain dead for about 5 minutes. Just then, I hear the little feet of 2 kids who are supposed to be in bed. Normally, once I put the kids to bed, there better be blood or vomit for them to get out. However, they must be as charged as I am about the wedding tomorrow and maybe they just need some extra loving. Both kids come around the couch in their mix-matched pajamas that are just a tad too small. They had very serious looks on their faces. I could tell these kids didn’t want to cuddle. They meant business.
“Mom,” Paisley said, “we’ve been talking.” I look over at Eddie who is just about to turn 5-years-old. He has his lips pinched together and his eyes focused right on mine. Paisley continued, “ We’ve decided that after and only after you and Michael get married, we would like to call him daddy.” My breath escaped my lungs. It was like the words hung in midair. If hearts could literally melt, that’s just what mine did. All the anxiety about the ‘what ifs” just drifted away. After all that the kids and I have been through together, now they are ready to accept Michael not just as my husband, but also as their daddy. It had happened so naturally, well, supernaturally I should say. Michael had been searching for a family, and we had a spot he could fill. It may have been one of the most powerful statements I’ve ever heard.
After we were married, the first thing the kids said to Michael was, “I love you, daddy.” They seemed so eager to use the word in regards to him. And still, after all these years, hearing that sentence makes my spirit sing to God’s faithfulness.
“Daddy” is a term of endearment. It is earned, not given. It comes with the late night feedings, cleaning up the sick off the couch, coaching the games, and just the regular school nights doing nothing but watching reruns. But here’s the thing, not all fathers are made when their babies are born. Some men choose to become daddies to those kids who have vacancies. It’s these men who feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit and choose to stand in place of what should have been and help create what can be. These are the men who are investing heart and soul into our children. Allowing God to lead their steps while holding the hands of our little ones whispering to them their God-given worth. These dads accept the opportunity of taking the sacred responsibility of parenting and holding it in the highest of honor. Not because they have to, but because they want to.
With Father’s Day around the corner, let us recognize all the dads. Not just the ones that we are related to by DNA, but also the ones who have “adopted” us into the folds of their hearts. Who have prayed over us, walked with us, shared their wisdom and shared our tears. The men, who didn’t care about biology, but understood the family of Christ. To the grandfathers, stepdads, uncles, big brothers, neighbors and any other men who have shaped our lives and the lives of our children for generations to come…thank you. You have left your imprint on our souls and a legacy that will change the world for the better through each child you loved.
Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate. Psalms 127:3-5