As this June issue of the Blue Ridge Christian News is soon going to print, I am looking forward to the holiday that we will celebrate this month, Father’s Day. I teach elementary school in Caldwell County and took this opportunity to ask my 4th graders if they had anything they wanted to say about their dads. Here are some of their comments:
“My dad is great. He is kind, loving and friendly. He is there when we need him.
He lets us run and play.” – Carissa
“My dad is the best. He always does a lot of stuff for me.” – Trinity
“My Papa is best. He chose me.” – Dee
“My dad is a trucker and he lets me ride in his truck. He is the best!” – Khloey
“My dad is special because we look and act like each other. He makes me laugh when I am sad.
He always wants to play with me. He is always there when I need him.” – Devon
“The reason I love my dad is because he cares for me. If something happens in baseball, he will be there for me. If I get hurt, he will be there for me. He lets me play any sport. He makes sure I get to school every day. And if I am sick, he is right there with me. I love my dad!” – Eli
“My dad is the best because he gets me just about everything I want and what I need. My dad plays Xbox One with me and takes me fishing and swimming. I love my dad.” – Alex
“My dad works hard for us. He plays video games with me and helps me when I need it. He helped me with my homework when I had the flu. He is very funny and makes me laugh really hard.” – Aiden
My mom and dad had me when they were still very young. I can remember many times as a child thinking about how young my parents were. I think that because of that, my dad was very playful and funny growing up. He was always making us laugh by doing silly things or saying something funny. I always enjoyed spending time with him. He would put me on his lap and let me help mow the grass. I remember him holding on to the back of my bicycle as I learned to ride and letting go as I went flying down the front yard. His nickname for me was “Goose”, and I loved to snuggle on his lap and hear him call me that.
He was also very smart and skilled with his hands, and I loved to help him in the garage or when he was building something. One time, he bought a 57 Chevy and had it towed to our garage. He would spend hours out there working on that car. I remember just going out to “hang out” with him while he worked. As I got older, he started building furniture – just pieces for our house and his family. He would always let me and my brother “help” him, and he was always patient with us because he knew we were learning – probably just as he had from his father.
My dad and mom split up and divorced when I was in college, and I will not lie, it broke my heart. The man that I had loved for 20 years like no other, walked quietly out of my mother’s life and, essentially, out of mine for a while too. We have found a way back to one another, but it has never been the same since then. I am sure that there is regret on all sides. But, I do have very precious and happy memories of my childhood with my daddy.
Luckily, for both my mother and me, she was blessed to find my stepdad, Mark, several years later. It was not difficult to love Mark. He was a kind man and loved my mother fiercely. He had several nieces and a nephew, but no children of his own. And, his heart was open and willing to love me and my brother as his. As I finished college and moved back home, he and my mother married, and our family seemed complete again. I married, and my child, Luke, became his grandchild and best friend. Mark was a Christian man and loved the Lord with all he had. He modeled that Christian love with everyone he met. He became a Godly role model for our entire family.
Tragically, Mark developed lung cancer a few years ago. He fought a long, hard battle with cancer, never giving up his faith in his God and secure in the knowledge that he would rest safely and quietly in the arms of his Jesus at the end. Another father slipped quietly away from me on a cold winter night a year and a half ago into the waiting arms of his Savior. The picture to the right is Mark holding his grandson and my son, Luke Barrier shortly after he was born.
Although these memories of my fathers are bittersweet, I must remember that we all have a heavenly Father that loves us even more than our earthly ones do. We have a promise from Him that He will “never leave us, nor forsake us” – He is always with us. He wants good things for us and provides a way for us to receive Him and those blessings through the shed blood of His Son, Jesus.
This Father’s Day take time to tell your father how much he means to you – both your earthly one and your heavenly Father!
Michelle is a 4th grade teacher in Caldwell County. She is a member of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Morganton, NC.