When I was seven years old, my dad took my brother and me on a hike around our small town in south Mississippi. That hike would turn into one of the most terrifying moments of my life.
I did not enjoy going to church last Sunday. I took my three kids to the service by myself because my wife wasn’t feeling well. The journey started out well enough — we were in the car and only running 12 minutes behind when we pulled out of the driveway. But it was all downhill from there.
A lot of folks like me hit their 20s or 30s and suddenly realize all the things their parents got wrong. The blame rolls in. Our insecurities, troubles with romance, inability to develop healthy friendships, whatever — all of it comes back to mom and pop. If only they hadn’t done this or that, we would be healthy and whole. When my parents divorced after years of trying to keep it together, I didn’t know what to do with their relationship. In the back of my mind, I knew there were bright moments, but I simplified things by seeing their relationship as one big mistake.
Yesterday, my wife and I had visitors over, and my newborn son started crying — probably because he was tired and needed to go to sleep. We tried to play it cool while attempting to calm him down. We even gave our visitors a shot at soothing him, but none of it worked. He kept on crying, so I finally left the room and went upstairs to console him. It took 30 minutes, and it required a lot of creativity.
Last night, my daughters were in the living room where my newborn son was sleeping in a bouncy seat on the floor. I went to the bathroom after explicitly saying, “Please be quiet around your brother.” I should have just taken the baby to the bathroom with me.
Right now, I’m looking across the room at my son, a newborn baby boy curled against my wife’s chest. She’s nursing him, which takes a lot more effort than you would imagine. And speaking of effort, there are a host of other little tasks that somehow manage to take up nearly the whole day. We don’t mind it, but we’ve come a long way since our first two children were infants.
My sister and I have different fathers, but her dad loomed large when I was growing up. My mom told me a lot of good things about him, but I also knew he had some failings. And no two women experienced the hurt of those failings more than my mom and sister. As a kid, I thought my sister didn’t love her dad because she had so little contact with him, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that love manifests itself in strange ways sometimes. That’s why I’m sharing this Father’s Day reflection written by sister, Lawrie Wallace. I hope it…
Last weekend was pretty intense at our house. One of my six-year-old’s front two teeth was ready to fall out, but she was terrified of the pain she might feel if it did.
The other night, I visited my daughter’s kindergarten classroom and sat in her miniature chair as the teacher gave a recap of the class progress so far. In that little chair, I learned something my daughter doesn’t know yet: she’s being ranked.
When I was growing up in south Mississippi, there were some Pentecostals who sold peanut brittle door-to-door and in grocery store parking lots. At one point in my childhood, I remember having a positive view of them because — well, they had sweets. But my dad took care of that really quickly.
A lot of parents in Mississippi would have been disappointed to have me as their youngest son. I did not watch sports, nor was I particularly athletic. I did not hunt or fish; and although I did spend a lot of time in the woods, when I was out there, I was often pretending to be in Narnia.
If you’ve been to Washington, D.C., you know there aren’t any skyscrapers in the city (we have a building height restriction). The closest thing we’ve got is the Washington Monument, and at 555 feet, you’d imagine it’s the tallest stand-alone structure in the city. That would be incorrect – in fact, it’s not even close. That honor is held by the John Hughes Memorial Tower, a police radio tower on Georgia Avenue that bears a striking resemblance to the Eiffel Tower. And here’s the best part: it has been a great tool for explaining deep theology to my kids.
One day, I was standing in the kitchen at my mom’s house, and for the first time, it occurred to me that my favorite music was the sound of tinkering high notes on a piano. So I rhetorically asked my mom, “Do you know what my absolute favorite music is?”
A few days ago, my wife and I drove our daughters to their first day of school. I hardly noticed that my breathing was becoming shallower as we got closer. I didn’t want to notice it. “You know,” I said, “I’m not going to cry when we say goodbye to the girls today, but I understand why parents do.”
It was Christmas of 1984, and my mother crammed my three older siblings and me into a compact car and took us to Arkansas to celebrate the holiday. I vaguely remember it — my mother, on the other hand, remembers it quite clearly. Apparently, it was pretty rough. No doubt, putting one adult, two older teenagers and two small boys into a small car for six hours was a recipe for disaster. One of us — I shall not say who — was behaving horribly and Mom couldn’t seem to get control of the situation. She was exasperated nearly the entire time.