Saturday, June 14, 2014
The rains continue here in Florida. Just today we've had three sudden huge downpours, then it clears up....it's similar to when a hurricane is coming and the rain bands start. I love rain & thunderstorms but our internet connection has been spotty to say the least!
My thoughts today are on Father's Day.
I grew up without a father. I have ONE memory of my father. I was about 3 years old and my great aunt (who I was living with) took me over to my mother's house. She was sick or something and my aunt was taking her and the kids some food. My father walked in, I didn't know him well enough to even respond to him but my older sister ran towards him. He pushed her away and yelled something at my mother and left. Looking back, I assume he was drunk. Nice memory huh?
When I was in college, I got a silly idea to write him, so I did and enclosed some pictures. Never heard from him.
One day after Steve was born, I got a phone call from a woman, she identified herself as my half sister and laughed. It was odd, she told me she was calling to say "our" father died. She wanted to know if I wanted to be included in his estate. Of course, I was in shock but quickly answered NO, there was nothing he had that I wanted or needed!
The only father figures I had was first my great aunt's husband, Poppy, Matthew Phillips. They were in their late 60's when they took me to raise. He already had lung cancer and died when I was only three years old. I can remember him letting me sit on his lap and drive the car in the big field. I also remember waving to him from the parking lot of the hospital. He was in his room looking down. That was just days before he died.
Then a couple of years later, my great aunt's brother moved in with us. Uncle Mack Hines was wonderful to me. I loved the years he lived with us. He was a smoker but was afraid to ever light up inside! He drove a brown Ford truck that he let me climb all over and play on. Never do I remember him saying a harsh word to me. When I was 12, he also died of lung cancer. Just broke my heart.
So when I married Jon, I appreciated that he had a strong father. His dad was a great influence on his life and how he views the world.
Jon is a wonderful dad. From the day Steve was born, Jon embraced his role as a dad. He was totally involved. Then when Sam came along, he continued to embrace being a dad. Maybe because of Sam's difficulties, he embraced his role of a father, now with a special needs son even more so. No one but God knows the things we went through with Sam from birth to about 5 years of age. The times we almost lost him, the weeks and months spent in hospitals, the crazy trips to Miami to try and save his sight and then to New York....... And during all this craziness, Jon embraced becoming a dad to a little boy from China. You guys only see how things have worked out. But when we adopted Shad we EXPECTED a completely blind child, with severe mental retardation. We didn't know Shad's only issue was blindness in one eye. BUT Jon embraced becoming his daddy, even when we thought things might be more challenging.
Then we've had all the years of the five of us being together.....till I saw a little blind girl's sweet face.... Within days I knew I wanted us to adopt her but really didn't know WHAT my husband would say. So I met him outside one afternoon when he came home from the prison and told him I thought we should adopt her. He told me he'd already prayed about it with some of the inmates at the chapel and he was ready to do it too! He embraced Sarah in his heart just like I did!
Then when we had the chance to adopt Selah and was given her info right before we left to go to Ukraine.... it was ME with doubts....he had no doubts, he said 'let's do it" He embraced Selah even quicker than I did! And his acceptance of her, helped me to accept her too.
Getting to meet the girls together, in a stinky orphanage room, we both had tears running down our faces.....what a moment.....
Then that summer, we became a family of seven, every moment is so precious to me. The pictures are bittersweet.....we were so happy, no doubts that we'd done the right thing.....
Our first family trip to NY together....smooth....
Then the accident happened..... life stopped.....dreams changed.....
I was actually afraid my husband might hurt himself the first few days following the accident. He was devastated and I knew it not so much by what was said, as by what was not said..... Then I thought he would leave the ministry, he was broken hearted by the accident. Again it was not so much what he said....... It was an awful time....
But he was still Selah's daddy, he sat by her side, learned everything that needed to be done for her. He actually learned how to do all the things like changing the trach and gtube long before I could bring myself to do it. He was with her every day at the hospital. He embraced being her dad. It was not the plan we had for her at all and the accident will always forever darken our lives.... BUT I love that Jon put all his energy into helping her instead of feeling sorry for himself of letting guilt over ride his life.
So now as we live out our lives, I'm so thankful for the man I married and how he has loved our children and put them first above career, calling or anything else. There are many things I respect about him but how he has been as a dad, is just remarkable. I may have not had an example of a good dad in my life but my children certainly have had that example.
Hope you all have a great weekend......