I Wonder….

My family and I live in the house where I grew up. My parents live in the house where my paternal grandparents used to reside. There is a field between the two houses; a field that  I have traversed countless times throughout my life.

Walking to and fro from my house to my grandparent’s house as a child wasn’t bad during the day. Their driveway was where our basketball goal was located. If my brother and I wanted to play, we had no choice but to make the walk.

It was at night that the walk became more treacherous. Or at least it felt that way as the moonlight conspired with the trees to create an eerie atmosphere of impending doom.

The nights when the moon and stars were hidden from view were even worse. Just thinking about walking between the two houses in total darkness was usually all that it took for the waves of fear to crash down upon my fragile young psyche.

I remember being terrified of walking home from my grandparent’s house in the dark as a young child. I also remember the one thing that could assuage the trepidation and make me feel secure.

Holding on to my father’s hand.

Now, three decades later, I am the one who my children trust to keep them safe when we walk back from their grandparent’s house in the dark. As they reach their hands upward to take hold of mine,  I can sense their fear as I use the light from the moon and stars to look into their eyes. 

I wonder if my eyes once looked the same way.

I wonder if my dad cherished those moments as much as I do now.

I wonder if my children know how much I love them.

I wonder….

(Did you have a father who was willing to hold your hand on some dark paths? How are you doing in holding the  hands of your children as they make their way through life? Share away!)

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37 thoughts on “I Wonder….

  1. Ooooh, good one. Stuff about dads always gets me.

    The summer between high school and college, I had an asthma attack that required Daddy taking me to the ER at around 3AM for a breathing treatment. After I finished, I had reached the point where my face and extremities were numb from the heavy breathing, so I stayed there until around dawn until I recovered. The nurse shut off the lights in the room. I closed my eyes and saw the Lord in the hospital bed, laying on top of me, with my deceased family members crowded around either side of the bed, and a crowd of angels as far as I could see.

    And the whole time, Daddy sat next to me, holding my hand and praying for me.

  2. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. My wife and are both introverts, and thus parenting the two the Lord blessed us with is just plain exhausting. Sometimes (ok, a lot) I disappear upstairs to get recharged. I value that alone time–sometimes too much.

    (By the way, fired off an email to you. Not nearly so funny as you. Hope it works out).

  3. The answer to your first question is No. the answer to your next question is “I believe I did when they were young and at home.” Now that they are both adults on their own, they know that I will walk with them (and metaphorically hold their hand) as they go through life. I do hold their hand though. I pray for them each day. Love the imagery you painted Matt.

  4. No, my dad was never available for me and my mother had other priorities during my childhood. Even now that my children are 32 and 34 I want them to know that I have cherished every moment of their lives. The bad as well as the good. I hope they know as women I will always be there for them. Even though it is in a different capacity now than it was when they were little. I hope they know how much I love them. Matt when I look at them now I still want to touch their faces and wipe their tears. But alas they have husbands for that now and for you boys, I am thankful.

  5. My dad def did. He’s awesome. I hope to do that for my kids when they get old enough to even know who I am. At 8 weeks old I still have my doubts that they have a fat clue who I am.

  6. This is so beautiful. I love your memory, that your kids get to walk the same path, but with their own eyes. Just lovely. The question your pose yanked so hard on my heart that I had to leave a comment. My dad is a flawed and imperfect man. He’s also the man who knew my heart was broken when a boy rejected my invitation to a dance; he offered to go with me (I said no, of course!). He cried when he read my college entrance essay, from a bed in which he lay, recovering from something ghastly and painful. He sends me tiny notes via email and text at the most unpredictable times. That is how I know my dad loves me. And, I know that his love is a portion of the Father’s. This humbled my head today, and I needed it. Thank you.

    • Glad it touched you and thanks for sharing. Knowing how others parent and show love to their grown children will no doubt help me as my kids reach adulthood (even though they have a ways to go and I am in no hurry to get them there).

  7. Absolutely, it was during those times that I could see a glimpse of uncertainty in my father’s eyes, which got overtaken by looks of hope and promise that Our Father can and will bring us through anything and everything.

    As for my children, I sometimes forget that they do not have the same knowledge and experience as I do, so I have to remind myself to be sure to speak out of love and hope, and to also share the promise Our Father gave us. Seeing the wonder and hope in their eyes when first hearing it, is like nothing else on earth.

  8. Being that I was definitely a daddy’s boy—I wanted to go everywhere with my Dad when I was younger. Like literally everywhere…it was funny.

    Since, I don’t have kids, can’t really answer the second part 🙂

  9. My dad walked me through some hard times. Grateful for those. I know they’re inevitable and I pray I’ll have the same strength to demonstrate the same with my kids.

  10. When we went camping my Dad always switched with one of us kids if our sleeping bag was wet from rain (notice, though, that he did not replace the leaky tent.)

    Unexpected tears just now (good ones) remembering this about my father: He was usually a pretty stern guy. When I was in my 20s we took a trip to Pakistan. We were hiking in some high mountains above the Swat River Valley when I discovered my fear of heights. Paralyzing. My brother chose to walk up the rest of the mountain, but my father stayed with me and coaxed me down the steep mountainside. His staying by my side meant the world to me. And I was an adult, not a child, at the time. Parents, even if your kid is an adult, it’s not too late to show love.

    And now the sad tears: my father now is 82 years old and nearly crippled by Parkinson’s Disease. That walk down the mountainside now means more to me than ever. And my Dad still is teaching me about courage as he deals with this terrible disease.

    • Wow–thank you so much for sharing. Such a good memory of a father showing so much love. He showed you love through tough patches and now you are able to do the same for him. Will be praying for him, you, and the rest of your family.

  11. I truly pray that my children see their father and me as their comforter and find a sense of safety in us. I want to reflect the love of Christ, because I didn’t have that growing up. It’s hard to reconcile our earthly father, with the love that our heavenly father bestows upon us. It’s one reconciliation I don’t want my kids to have to make. I won’t be perfect, but I hope to reflect His perfect care, love and safety.

  12. Most times I had to face the fears alone since pop dukes left when I was a baby. Mom was always busy working and as a boy, you tend to want a male figure to hold your hand. That sucked.

    However, now that I have children, I make sure I hold their hands and I don’t want them to ever live what I did. I want to show them I’ll be there for them in their darkest moments and fears.

  13. I’m glad to have found your blog! I have great memories of my Dad carrying me when I was too tired to walk home from the bowling ally when I was about 5 or 6. My Dad is a man of medium stature and very slight so that is amazing to me now. It was uphill about a mile 🙂 My husband is also a great Daddy and my children (now grown) have great memories of growing up with a good Dad 🙂

  14. i loved my dad i was 16 when he passed away my favorite memory he walked to carter elementary it was 3 mile walk just to give me and my two brothers a pack of plain m n m s at that moment i was ashamed because he looked rough and dirty over halls i felt bad about that but that was one memory that said i love you

  15. I hesitate to thus comment, but reading these fond memories that others have shared just makes me jealous of something I still don’t have: a relationship with me dad. I’ll not go into the sordid details here, but suffice it to say that I had to initiate the ZCP (“zero contact protocol”) because the man simply never respected my wife. Sad, but unfortunately true. I’ll be 42 this year, he’ll be 67, and it’s something I live with everyday. But you know what? It’s not so much disappointing to me anymore–it having been this way my entire life–but it is to my kids. Matt, you recently wrote of how seeing disappointment in your kids’ faces tears you up. Same for me, because they feel like their grandpa doesn’t care about them. I made one simple request: please be polite to my wife when you call, and he couldn’t honor it–cast me as the bad in fact. So sad. Sorry to bore you with all this.

  16. I have always wondered what it would have been like to have my dad to pass ball with, take me fishing, comfort me when I was scared. I never experienced any of those moments. He took his own life when I was very young. When he did that he also took part of mine with him. I have since forgiven him, but only recently.
    On a better note, I had a step dad in which, I call “Dad” that stepped in and took his place. He took me as his own. He took me fishing, taught me carpentry, and mechanics, along with many other things a father does. We have some great memories together that I will always cherish. Out of all of the things that he taught me ,the one that has always meant the most was that my true father is God and he will comfort me and always be there when I need. I never have to wonder if He will ever leave me when I am scared or in time of need. Thanks Dad for always being there for me when I needed you. Thank you God for giving me the peace of knowing that you are always there. I pray that my children are always able to see God through me, as I did in my dad.

    • You’ve shared this with me before, but I appreciate you sharing this with whoever else might read these comments. Thankful that God carried you through and that you do all that you can to live a life that honors Him. Thankful for you, brother.

  17. Hi Matt. I hung out here a while tonight reading you for the first time. As a great grannie, I relived sweet memories of my dad and my children and grands. What deep blessings at the way you paint with words a picture of our Holy Father through parenting. POWERFUL. (You might like to know the trail: I am a follower of Deep into Love 1st Corinthians; at Craig’s, I found Cindy Holman; at Cindy’s, I found you. God leads in sweet ways sometimes.) I shall return! One can never have too many pastors!

    • Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I have learned so much about God’s love and grace through be a father and a husband, as I’m sure you have from being a great grannie. Blessings.

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