Tag Archives: father

Quiet Love

If God is a Father, I can surmise that godly love is like pure parent love. Knowing little about godly love and more about parent love, I shall address the latter.

NOTE: This blog series investigates twelve attributes I see as conducive to recovery from PTSD and other past stress. June shares Love.

While I was in Bien Hoa, Vietnam, I bought a pair of ceramic elephants to be used as end tables or lamp stands. The Army crated and shipped them home for me. I still have one.

One arrived intact, but the other was broken, the elephant separated at feet and trunk from the base. At the time I really didn’t care. In the thrill of being home, it seemed insignificant.

My mother worked for hours, days I think, to repair that elephant. She found some glue that worked and chinked pieces into gaps like putting Humpty Dumpty together. It worked. I can still see her on her knees toiling away.

I wonder if she really knew, consciously, what she was doing.

When she grew feeble in her mid-nineties and had difficulty remembering names, she still recognized me, even though I only saw her a few times a year. Near the end she told me again that she loved me. She needn’t. I had always known.

I had not always known that my father loved me. Like me, he was not particularly verbal or demonstrative on his feelings. Until that day I signed away my little farm.

It had been on his recommendation that I bought it. I believe he said something like if I didn’t buy it, he would.

Then came divorce and I had to sell it, but that was during a real estate bust in the late seventies and it took two years.

I had to get a perk test and my dad came to fill the hole using what had been my D-17 bucket tractor. I was having a rebellious period and refused.

Then came that awful day when we stood in the little kitchen of that little ramshackle house and signed the papers. My dad stood there with me, silent as usual as I signed away my little dream.

I am sure he consciously knew exactly what he was doing. He taught me something really important about being a father that day, and I never doubted his love again.

It took me almost twenty years to get another piece of land and another sixteen to get a bucket tractor. And when I use it, I think of him.

I stopped grieving the loss of my father on Father’s Day of 1990, a little over two years after his death. I prayed aloud, that day in the Arizona Sonoran Desert, a prayer of gratitude for my father and for the privilege of being a father.

When I garden, I think of both my parents. Planting, cultivating, and harvesting is what we did.

Near the gate to my garden in the north woods stands a wounded ceramic elephant with a pot of flowers on its back. It symbolizes a few things for me, but most of all, it represents the healing power of Love, especially Agape Love.

Happy Father’s Day.

Happy Tracking.

Always Love

Something was wrong. She knew it. She could feel it. Almost six weeks early and she had suddenly grown huge.

The rapid change in her distended abdomen was visible to all, but not everybody could see it. “Everything will be alright,” they consoled. She knew better. So, she went to the hospital.

Tests revealed her son alive and apparently well although his abdomen, too, was distended. Ascites, they called it. An accumulation of fluid, but it would be alright.

She was waiting for the doctor to sign her discharge when her water broke.

Maybe love really is forever. Maybe it doesn’t necessarily have beginning or end. Maybe it just is…until we notice.

She was still in the labor room when she felt the need to push. No nurse was there, but her step-mom called them. She pushed.

Her son was born like a little bird with a great big belly, not breathing, and stained with meconium. His stool was an undeniable sign that something really was wrong.

She had chosen her hospital well. A team of doctors and nurses swooped in to take her son into one of the best NICUs in the world. He breathed.

She was stitched and stitched, for she had pushed too early. Her son had been in trouble, and she brought him to the NICU. Now, a team of professionals tended to him.

Three days later, surgeons repaired her son’s ruptured bowel, the cause of his and her ascites. Meconium ileus, they called it, an extremely rare condition in which a blockage in the baby’s bowel causes a rupture in utero. Genetic tests revealed the reason to be cystic fibrosis.

There is a saying, which I paraphrase because I believe it, that a father falls in love the first time he holds his child, but a mother falls in love at conception. I think a mother doesn’t fall in love—she just is. That’s just what I think. That’s one thing I learned from this young mother.

My mother was ninety-six years old when I said one of my many goodbyes as I left her at the assisted living facility in Wisconsin on my way home to Arizona. She didn’t always recognize everybody, and she saw things that were not visible to me, but she recognized me when she looked at me and said, “I just love you so much.”

I miss my mom and I love my children and grandchildren. I believe I always will. Maybe I always have.