Father’s Day: Three Little Conversations with Big Truths

From the back of our car on the way to a local fair last Sunday afternoon, out of the blue:

“Excuse me—Farfar?” [Meaning “Father’s Father” in Swedish; this is the name all our grandchildren call Woody]

“Yes, Gabriella?”

“I think you really like me!”

“Oh, you’ve got that right, Gabriella!”

As Woody turned around with a grin, her 3-year-old big smile told it all.  And she went on to say, “You do silly things with me.”

A little conversation with a big truth: Isn’t that what every little girl (and boy) is looking for?  To know that someone big in his or her life—especially a parent—really likes them?  And, likes to do fun things with them?   And when that someone is their father or grandfather . . . all the better!

With Father’s Day here, I was taken back to a second conversation in our kitchen one Saturday morning, long ago.   Bjorn’s friend, Adam, was trying to talk Bjorn into coming over to play.

“No, Adam,” Bjorn said.   My dad’s home today and I’m doing something with him."

“What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know, Adam—but whatever my dad’s doing, I’m doing!”

It was one of Woody’s weekends off, and he nearly always devoted those Saturday mornings entirely to the kids.  They always did something fun.  A trip up the coast to Gloucester to climb on the rocks, search for sea glass, and fashion imaginary villages at the water’s edge.  Or an exploratory adventure throwing pebbles in the river at the Concord Bridge.  Or simply a basement “project” turned  into a root beer party on a rainy day.   The invaluable gift of time.  And, I suspect, a good deal of modeling and Deuteronomy-6-style teaching woven into the fun.

And then there was last night, sitting out on a deck having dinner with friends:

“Gabriella, who are some of your friends back home in Ireland?  Who’s your best friend?”

After a moment or two of reflection, a big smile and then: “My dad!”

“I think you really like me!”

“Whatever my dad’s doing, I’m doing!”

“Who’s my best friend?  My dad!”

I salute the four wonderful fathers in our family: Woody, who loves our grandkids with the same enormous dad-love he has for our kids; our two sons, Bjorn and Lars (both extraordinary dads); and our son-in-law, Richie, who is his daughter’s “best friend.”

And I give thanks for the Father who loves us best, is with us always, and carries us through life—whatever our own earthly-father stories may be:

“For the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between His shoulders.” (Deuteronomy 33:12)

Happy Father’s Day!