13 June 2009

Shakespeare, suns and a father's weight

This is the first of a series of parenting posts from days of yore to be re-posted over the next few weeks. This one was posted on March 3, 2006.
As I approached the mini-van in the garage, I noticed that Ryene (our 6 year-old daughter) and Hudson (our 4 year-old cowboy) were sitting quietly and waiting for their dad to go run some errands. I was encouraged. They were happy, singing songs and laughing and they had obeyed their dad quickly and completely.

Now, a father's relationship with his daughter has all the elements of the great love stories: a strong protective hero and his beautiful princess; strength and beauty. Something internal urged me to take this moment to remind her of my love. So I quoted the famous balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet.

"But soft, what light through yonder mini-van door breaks? Tis the east and Ryene is the sun!" A broad smile overtook her whole face and she nearly cooed in delight.

"Da-addy!" she giggled. We laughed together, I gave her a kiss and closed the door.

A father's relationship with is son is something different. As I walked to the other side of the van to buckle Hudson's seatbelt and close his door, I found a boy shaking in tears. There are times when you know that your child's tears are welling up from the soul and this was one of them. It took a few minutes to settle the boy down and, when I did, he revealed the source of his pain.

"You said sissy was da son!" he cried. Hudson heard that his sister was the s-o-n not the s-u-n. The same words that exposed, the greatest joy of my daughter's heart had exposed the deepest need in my son's heart. After some explanation about Shakespeare and homonyms, I gave Hudson the words that every son seeks:
"Hudson, look at me. You are my son and I am well-pleased with you."
Maybe through the tears welling in my eyes, maybe through the earnestness of my voice, but most likely by the grace of God, he read my sincerity and received my words. The pain and angst this misunderstanding had created disappeared. A smile rose on his face like the sun. Redemption.

May God grant me the grace to tune in to the rumblings of their hearts. There are deep things going on and, if I am self adsorbed and inattentive, I will leave them with a lifelong ache and a misunderstaning of their real Father.


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