* Update to story at the end [Originally written on 8 April 2012].
Prior to coming home from another year long deployment, to Iraq this time, one of my daughters, age 13 at the time, wrote me an e-mail. In it, she wanted to introduce a boy she “liked” and shared his name with me and also wanted to let me know that he would like to e-mail me also; which he did. I was taking by surprise to this e-mail. As a parent you always hope and dream you are teaching your children good morals, values and ethics. I often wondered, as I am sure many parents do, how will I know if I am making an impact on your children in a positive way? Needless to say this e-mail confirmed to me I have.
In a day where children seem to run around behind parents, here was my daughter ... writing me from half way around the world to tell me she liked a boy and not hiding it. So easily she could have hid it from me; just look at the circumstances. However, she chooses to share with me her first attempt at dating. Needless to say I was overjoyed that my daughter would reach out to me … her father... and did not take this e-mail for granted.
I took some time to pray about this e-mail before I called my best friend, my wife. I did not think of how this e-mail would affect her when I told her the “good news”. As clear as day, I could hear the disappointment in her voice as she said; “I wonder why she didn’t come to me first”. After she spoke that simple question, I didn’t have any answer for, there was an awkward silence for what seemed to be an eternity until it dawned on me. I simply told her that...
“I am sure she will tell you; maybe she just wanted to tell me first since I would not be able to talk face to face with her being on the other side of the globe. At least for a while, I went on, and you are there and maybe she felt a little uneasy thinking about it”. I didn’t really know why she told me first. I was honored as a father, but I know how awesome a wife and mother she is and expressed that over and over again to her. Despite my attempts, I could still hear the hurt in my wife’s voice. Don’t get me wrong, my wife was happy for me, just disappointed it wasn’t her.
Almost a year later, something magical happened again. You see my second oldest daughter’s first attempt at dating didn’t last more than two weeks for many reasons. Again, I am gone away and not at home; such is the life of a military family. My wife asked me if I knew that our second oldest daughter was dating again. I told her I didn’t and she let me know she was. I asked her how does she know and my wife cheerfully told me that she came to her and told her. Our daughter told her that since I told daddy last time first, she thought it is only fair to tell her [step] mom first this time.
Hearing this also brought me much joy. I again went to prayer and thought what a wonderful day the lord has made. I had already spoken with all the kids, my youngest, age 6, talked about the egg hunt, my 8 year old spoke about receiving her first “grown up” bible (this one doesn’t have pictures) from mommy and so on. They asked me if I received anything for Easter (from the Easter Bunny), ironically I told them no, that the Easter Bunny doesn’t normally come where I am at.
But after the phone was already hung up and sitting in prayer, I knew I was wrong, I have received much more than candy, the joy of seeing children finding eggs or anything on this earth could buy. My Easter present happens every day before my eyes. Seeing my girls growing up and knowing I have the best wife and mother to our children in the world.
Thank you for reading my post.
*Update, my second oldest daughter, now 14, says she isn’t sure she wants to date anymore in High School and just wants to enjoy time with her friends. As a father this is music to my ears. Although, I am sure it could change… about a minute ago! Keep me in your prayers.