Monthly Archives: April 2013
I’ve not met him, but I’ve already influenced him. As a matter of fact, I have no earthly idea who he is and as far as I know, neither does my daughter; but I have been shaping him for years. And after seeing firsthand the example I set for him day after day, I hope he’s picked up on a few things that I think are important. By God’s grace, I have understood for a while that how I love my wife –how I treat her, how I prioritize her, would all have a direct impact on how he understands his role toward my daughter. It’s pretty simple really. As long as he’s been paying close attention, and I am confident he has, he has a pretty good idea of the type of man he should be to even consider my daughter’s hand in marriage. Does he have to be perfect? Of course not and he knows this because he has seen me mess up hundreds of times. Hopefully though, he has learned that loving and serving my daughter with honor, dignity, and respect should be at the very top of his “to do” list as he considers marriage.
Confused? Let’s try it again from a slightly different perspective.
I’ve not met him, but I’ve already influenced her. As a matter of fact, I have no earthly idea who he is and as far as I know, neither does my daughter; but I have been shaping her idea of him for years. And after seeing firsthand the example I set for him day after day, I hope she’s picked up on a few things that I think are important. By God’s grace, I have understood for a while that how I love my wife –how I treat her, how I prioritize her, would all have a direct impact on how my daughter understands her future husband’s role toward her. It’s pretty simple really. As long as she’s been paying close attention, and I am confident she has, she has a pretty good idea of the type of man he should be to even consider her hand in marriage. Does he have to be perfect? Of course not and she knows this because she has seen me mess up hundreds of times. Hopefully though, she has learned that loving and serving her with honor, dignity, and respect should be at the very top of his “to do” list as she considers him in marriage.
The fact is that as a father of two daughters, I am constantly teaching them how a husband should treat his wife through how I treat their mother. They see it and take it all in; and when it comes time for them to start vetting potential suitors, I will have hopefully shaped their expectations of “him” such that they will have a clear idea of what “he” needs to be to make the cut. And if you are a father with a daughter, you are doing the same thing whether you’ve realized it or not. (Of course, all of this applies to teaching my son how to be a husband as well.)
My wife will attest to the fact that I get it wrong more times than I get it right, but a couple of months ago I received an inkling of confirmation that I may at least be on the right track when my oldest daughter asked, “Daddy, before I get married, can I bring him over here for you to teach him how to be a husband?”
I’m already working on him my dear, I’m already working on him.
The little furry black dog chased Deron and me as we ran back and forth across the small room just off the living room. Our goal was to annoy it into a frenzy and it had worked. Mawmaw yelled “get down Scamp!” in a short agitated voice as it jumped off the couch with its tongue hanging out. We looked at each other and laughed.
Coffee had been made —coffee was always being made; the smell is still almost touchable. No doubt there was a plate of peanut candy on the kitchen table not quite covered with a piece of crumpled tin foil half-pulled back from where the last spoon tore off a chunk (I loved that candy). Or maybe half a watermelon still sitting out, left from earlier. Most likely it was either a Friday or Saturday evening. I think we made it down to Mawmaw and Pawpaw’s at least once a week or so in my younger years. I remember it being just something we did.
I’m thankful for the “it was just something we did” things.
Over the past couple of weeks my mind has made a sporadic routine of pulling these scattered memories from the corners of long ago. As each one comes into focus, I strain to adjust its clarity, hoping to stretch its borders to include a bit more of the moment. Scenes like my cousin Aaron and I cutting hay bale strings (Aaron told me he had finally confessed to Pawpaw we did that; I’m glad), playing in the barn loft, diggin’ taters, pulling watermelons from Paw’s patch, checking the cows with Paw, and on and on they have come —thankfully.
And as each comes, I can’t help but recapture a feeling which I am confident I once took for granted. The feeling is difficult to explain, but maybe something like, comfortable. But that’s not really big enough; more like a natural or even a safe sort of comfortable. But even that still doesn’t fit just right. Either way, it may sound silly, but it feels good to let it linger for a bit when it comes.
I left Louisiana almost 17 years ago, and with it, not just Mom and Dad and Deron, but the 120+ members of the Thaxton family and I don’t know how many on Mom’s side. Of course, it’s been my decision to stay in the military this long; a journey that has taken us all over the country and almost a dozen different houses. But as I begin to contemplate finishing it off, I am starting to realize in full, just what it has cost. Not just for me, but for my wife and children too.
Abby, my youngest, asked me the other day in a quiet, serious voice did I just live in that one house the entire time I grew up. I said “yes,” to which she replied in a sad voice, “that must have been nice.” There was no anger or bitterness, just a sense that she would have enjoyed it. She would have.
I don’t mean to sound like I regret the life I have chosen, but as we get ready to box everything up once again, I guess I’m just doing a little “where am I in life?” assessment. God has been overwhelmingly gracious and has kept us, literally kept “us” together with sweet care. And I am thankful beyond words for God’s blessings in my life.
In about two weeks, I will once again be able to say “I live in Louisiana.” Not Sabine Parish, but Louisiana nonetheless. I told Dani yesterday that I didn’t think I wanted to leave this time around, though I didn’t put it in those specific words. God, of course, may have other plans for us, but I’m ready to go home… home. Yes. That’s it. That’s the feeling I felt… it felt like home.