If you’re a new reader to this blog, I call the days when I can spend one-on-one time with just one of my kids, “The Greatest Day Ever!” But last week was more than just one day, it was a fantastic week with my oldest son, KD.
KD was able to join me on a business trip for the first time ever and I think he needed the time away more than I did. Despite me feeling quite ill during most of the trip, I mustered up the energy to roll out each evening to rack up miles on the buzzy-little Chevy Sonic.
As my son delves further into the land of adulthood, I continuously encourage him to get out and see/experience the world. Now I’m not talking about the red-light district or club nightlife, I’m talking about the various cultures, people groups and scenery that God has provided for us to enjoy while on this earth.
What got to me was, that’s been a passion that I’ve had all of my life, put into me by my father. Now, here I was experiencing those things with my son and reflecting on the long journey that preceded this time.
One night it really seemed to hit me. KD was quite enamored with the California living and I began to think back to when I was at USC with my boys over two decades before feeling the same way. The difference was, they were going to school there and I was pulling carts and banging the keys of a cash register back in Michigan. One of my boys went to a small community college in So-Cal and since I was the “road-dog” of my crew, I got the call to assist him in driving back in his ’67 Mustang (289 , AM radio and pea green just in case you’re wondering). That spectacular trip is a story for another day, but when I saw the palm trees and breathed that California smog, I knew I was back where I belonged.
But there was one little thing stopping me.
I was a father.
I’ll never forget some of the conversations that took place before my boys left. I was getting persuaded more and more to go and then I found out that I was going to be a dad, and those plans came to a screeching halt. I remember the mom of one of my friends just shaking her head in disappointment as I couldn’t go with her son because I got a girl pregnant.
I went from being a “good-kid” to being just another kid who has ruined his life.
Truth be told, I’d make it back to California on business and pleasure numerous times, but I was never able start a new life in the land of gorgeous mountains and high taxes. I made a decision that I would never want to live in a different state as my son when he was growing up, so the miserable weather, gray skies and ugly scenery would just have to be a part of my life for at least 18 years.
As this little boy who used to sleep with me in my bed for so many years on my visitation-days snored in the other bed, I knew it was a decision that I did not regret. Not only would our relationship be entirely different, I would have never met my wife (who I met at the aforementioned dead-end job) and we would not have the four other amazing children that we have today.
The baby that changed my life, would scream, “race for me daddy” as I’d drop him off at his mother’s, and get decked out in the latest Oakland A’s and SF Giants apparel, was now buying me Angels stuff, navigating me down the highway and dragging me through Hollywood. Those years flew past faster than I ever thought they would back when I was getting beat up by court referees, paying child support and having “kid-drop-offs” like two drug dealers in a White Castle parking lot.
Joel 2:25 says, “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you”.
David Wilkerson comments on this verse by saying, “I don’t care if you have been saved 30 years or 30 days – God can and will restore all your wasted years!”
God is doing a marvelous work in mine, so what about yours?
You may be a dad that is just beginning the struggle. You’re no longer or never have been in the same house as your children and you wonder about your impact as a “part-time-dad”. I’d like to encourage you to stay in there and not give up. Don’t move away if you do not have to, but let your presence be known.
You may be a dad that’s in the thick of the struggle right now and you think that relief is never going to come, your kid(s) hate you and you just can’t compete as you may be experiencing things like Parental Alienation Syndrome or you don’t know what it’s like to have a full paycheck or receive your tax return. Hang in there man, relief is on the other side. Let your presence by known!
You may be a dad that’s parenting a child who is nearly an adult, but you’re struggling as you wonder if it’s all been worth it. Perhaps you are not as close to your kid(s) as you wanted to be at this point and they seem to not even care about all of the sacrifices that you’ve made through the years. Your years can be restored as well. Continue to let your presence be known!
I’ve been at each of those stages and I can tell you that not only should you make your presence known, but you must. Once your child entered this world, there was no other option (despite what our society would like us to believe).
Christian Apologist Hank Hanegraaff says that there are no maverick molecules that are outside of God’s control. So even the things that happen in life that seem bad at the moment are still under the control of a Sovereign God who will work it out for His good. That’s the story of Abraham and Sarai’s “plan” and the “plan” of Joseph’s brothers in Genesis, Moses’s “plan” after murdering the Egyptian in Exodus and Paul’s plans in Acts.
I’m getting older, so I’m cherishing those “Greatest days” more and more now, and I pray that God has even more in store for me that’s for sure…cause I have a lot of kids!