He called me Highpockets because I hitched my britches up when I ran so I wouldn’t trip over them. When I worried over something, he used tell me he’d give me fifteen minutes to worry with me so we could get the job done faster. I always ended up laughing, pretty much forgetting, or at least minimizing, whatever I worried about. And when I got in dutch with Mom, he’d remind me that she really did still love me.
My dad would be 92 today. A new year doesn’t begin without me remembering him and the impact he’s had on my life. The memories are bittersweet because my children really never got to know their “Poppy”, and they would have loved him. Not nearly as much, though, as he would have loved and enjoyed them. He was the one who entered a room smile first, his hand out, ready to genuinely meet and greet anybody that came his way. He was always willing to play games, tell stories of his youth or crack jokes. And could he and Mom dance!
I know how wonderfully blessed I am to have had a Dad who knew me and loved me. I think of the encouragement and support I received from him, never appreciating it in the moment, but it has shaped me significantly.
He wasn’t perfect. Even the good memories bump up against the heated arguments we would have, the times I disappointed him, the times he disappointed me. No, not perfect. But he was a wonderful Dad.
I miss him. And with the new year and his birthday, it’s a reminder of how much I still need my Dad. Not in the old, needing parental supervision way. But in that comfortable, close, how-well-he-knows-me way, where I can just be myself and talk to him about everything.
And I have to smile. Because I have that Father with me. He knows me better than I know myself. He knows what I do before I do it, what I say before I trip over my own words, what I think before those thoughts become trouble. And my degree of comfortability? Well, that ball’s in my court. And Dad’s birthday this year has motivated me to move towards consistently greater intimacy with my heavenly Father, a deeper sense of true relationship, less a sense of duty and job. I find it really easy to fall into a habit of doing what looks righteous rather than putting the work into the relationship, into being genuinely close to God. And I want that sweet comfortability as a way of life. I want it to always be the two-way road God intended it to be, not just me taking occasional jaunts towards Him when I’m feeling really needy.
So happy birthday, Dad, and thanks for reminding me of what’s really important in my life, right now, where I live, with what I do. Thanks for showing me the love of a father. And thanks, Father, for being there for me, waiting patiently, always desiring my company, proving the passionate love of the Father.