The Papa Experience

It’s a challenge for youngsters who have two people they care about named the same.

Particularly when you don’t see either very frequently. It’s confusing to put faces with where they’re from, whom they belong to and how each shows up differently.

Papas can be such a problem.

Having the chance to visit our son and his family in Austin, Texas allows us to connect with three very much loved and not seen enough grandsons. Two with ridiculous amounts of energy I wish I had, and the third still mostly comatose because he’s only two months old.

These dear boys have two sets of Papas and Nanas.

I’d be confused.

The Papas look quite different and don’t show up the same when they’re here.

Papa Noser (it’s really Moser, but it’s cuter the way the boys say it) is able to build just about anything. He loves his grands and does all he can to create fun spaces and things for them to play with. And he helps Mom and Dad with projects around the house. Very kind and gentle.

Papa John has never been the handy man. But he creates fun games and makes up wild stories about our deceased dog whom he’s christened Super Pudgy. He’s a gentle presence and makes noises that drive me crazy but seem to calm small children.

Papa Noser lives in Pennsylvania. We live in Orlando.

It’s this crazy people puzzle. Do we ride the tractor at your house? Do we play soccer at your house? Which place do Ryken and Isley live? How about Owen and Griffen?

We Nanas don’t present as big an issue. It’s a Papa thing.

The boys engage well with all of us. And after a few hours of confusion, it doesn’t matter. It fascinates me how significant the Papa issue really is.

It’s that way for all of us.

Papa has come to mean grandfather in our season of life, but it hints at way more than a genetic link. It’s the man of influence, compassion and understanding in a child’s life. A caring, understanding father or grandfather, the one who was always strong, who knew the right words to say when pain clouded judgment and attitude. The one I could count on no matter what went south in my life.

Some folks have incredible memories of the fathers and grandfathers who built into their lives. The encouraging words spoken, the presence at every sporting event and concert where a performance could make or break a young life. The hugs when life felt hopeless.

Others have no experience with that thread of thoughtfulness and love. They’ve felt abandoned, invisible, of no worth to the men who’ve been in their lives. Papa becomes a derisive term, mocking the need for that figure in the lives of those desperate for him.

God is our perfect Papa. The One who loves His own with compassion and refuses to give up on His children, no matter what they’ve done.

Becoming His child is receiving the gift of love and forgiveness He graciously offers. He longs for a relationship with us and will prove His faithfulness. Always.

Nothing confusing about that kind of Papa love.


2 responses to “The Papa Experience”

  1. Welcome to Texas, Dayle. Looks like a lot of love in your family.


    1. That is true, my friend. A lot of love–and a ridiculous amount of activity. Who knew boy families could be so rambunctious? Says the mom of one boy and five girls Ah, but less drama! What you see is what you get. Thanks for your encouragement, Bill! And it’s nice not being in Orlando for a bit!


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