Wonderful times on the beach...Dad's favorite place to be.
Our firstborn came 10 days earlier than anticipated, and Dad being Dad came over to our house and did laundry, vacuumed, and cleaned up the kitchen before Aaron and I got home. He was not only present at Madeline's birth, he ministered in a way that would help me out.
Because of her age, Maddie was the one that was able to connect with Dad the most. They'd gather eggs from the chickens and pick peaches off the trees at my parents' house. We'd take walks together around the subdivision and she'd always get excited when she saw Granddad's red truck, which meant he was close. She still talks about her granddad, eagerly awaiting the day she'll see him again.
Dad holding Maddie...
For my 30th birthday, my parents surprised us all with an overnight stay at Elfindale Manor. My parents continually blessed us with their generosity. As an extravagant wedding gift, my dad built us our first home--all his labor and time a gift to us.
I remember how he used to say "Well...I think I'll hit it." (usually going to bed at 8:00 in the evening).
I remember how he'd slap his knee with laughter over a particular episode of Monk or a scene in Good Neighbor Sam.
I remember sitting in my parents' hottub with my siblings, watching Dad sneak chocolate chip cookies through the kitchen windows (he wasn't supposed to eat chocolate b/c it gave him a headache).
I remember taking walks with him at the track, Mom and I trying to keep up with him.
I remember how he'd check on me while I was in college, making sure my car ran properly and helping me if I was having trouble.
I remember the notes he'd write me from childhood all the way through college.
I remember Dad reading Bible stories to us as kids. I remember Dad praying with me to receive Jesus when I was 7. I remember being baptized by my dad at Manchester Heights Baptist Church. I remember sitting on the front pew, taking "sermon notes" while my dad preached.
I remember him walking me down the aisle and officiating my wedding, reminding me through all the chaos that I was in charge, "It's your wedding." When I started to feel nervous about details, he'd remind me that all that mattered was that Aaron and I were there. "As long as you two are there, I will make sure you get married."
I remember how he'd love on Mom while she was cooking dinner, kissing her and dipping her at times. How he'd help with chores around the house--nothing was too "low" for him to do.
Dad never lorded over us, never demanded, never tried to control us or our lives.
Unconsciously, he challenged me to be disciplined, to live a life with purpose and meaning. To serve, rather than be served, to find a mate who could be your best friend, to love the Lord without ceasing, to study His Word, to be there when you're needed.
He may not celebrate birthdays anymore, but most definitely, Dad's life goes on. He is celebrating in Heaven, joyfully whole and complete in Him who redeems us from this broken world. And one day, we're going to have an incredible reunion!
I Thessalonians 4