Fathers Day, and killing monsters

Sir Isumbras At The Ford

One night when my eldest daughter (now a 13-year-old maiden) was still a wee little toddler, she was scared to go to bed. She was afraid a monster would sneak in her room during the night and throttle her.

“Think they might come in through the closet?” I asked. She smiled shyly and nodded her head.

Into the closet I leapt, clambering about, knocking over coat hangers “Back you devils, I’ll give you what for!”

Closing the door, I nodded with a cocky smile, “There aren’t any monsters coming through there.”

“Really?” she said, hopeful.

“Really really,” I said. “I killed all the monsters, that’s what daddies do best.”

Today is Fathers Day, and a banner Fathers Day at the Prosser House. My wife and children conspired to make it a grand fête for the entire day. With each charming bauble and resplendent meal, to each embrace and kiss from my sweet ones… ah me, today’s been wonderful

I also made time to extend a blessing to my own father, thanking him for his sacrifice and example. Our relationship has come so far in just the few short years since I’ve been back in East Texas. I have a great appreciation for the importance of keeping one’s family close, and the vital bonds of extended family. It was something I was too reckless with as a young man. I see that now.

My life is blessed beyond measure, but on this day (this day we call “Fathers Day”), I must pause and consider this particular stretch in my journey.

I’ve been a father for a little over 13 years now. It was on a sunny summer day that my then-girlfriend, now wife told me I was going to be a father.

We were driving in her car to go out on a date, and she dropped the news. She was upset. I was too. It wasn’t what we had planned. We were two brilliant and creative young twenty-somethings, and we were just getting ready to set the world on fire.

Some things change, not all things.

I like to say that having children was the making of me. In our current day and age, foregoing children is growing in vogue. I know many young adults who swear they’ll never have kids or, if they do, it’ll be “a long time from now,” when they’ve gone and done and sucked the marrow out of life. I suppose I see their point. Having kids certainly limits your options.

But I don’t quite see marriage as a “fall back” position. Something that signals the end of one’s youth, and the beginning of compromised values and the confinement of domesticity.

My wife and I certainly will grow old together, but we have also grown up together.

It has been my privilege to watch her blossom and flower, to grow from being an amazing girl to an amazing woman.

Just as we’ve shared in the memories of our children, of birthdays, dances, award ceremonies and other such milestones, we’ve shared in each others progression and development as people.

So many people who’ve known us for a long time (or maybe just knew us young and now know us older) marvel at our longevity, and abiding ardor. “Wow, you guys are just meant for each other.” One former classmate remarked to me recently, pointing out that Candace and I still seem just as affectionate pushing 40 as we were during out hotblooded teenage years. “Yeah, well, you just gotta keep working at it, bro.” I said in response.

“Working at it?” he said, somewhat surprised. “Naw man, y’all are just soul mates. You two were just made for each other.”

Laughing good-naturedly, I clapped him warmly on the shoulder, and winked. “Brother, it takes a whole lotta work to make it easy. I’m hard to live with, and we’re a couple of sinners like any other. But we’re blessed, no doubt about that.”

Candace and I do have a powerful marriage, I’ll own that for sure. But we’ve worked at it, worked at it hard, for over a decade now. We’ve battled and wept and loved and fought and apologized countless times. It’s taken a good while for us to get where we’re at now, and it is a wonderful place, but it’s never just come easy.

Obviously, our example and way of doing it isn’t for everyone. I’d never “recommend” getting married and having children young – of course, I wouldn’t discourage it either.

God calls different people to different things and not everyone is called to marry and have children young. But by all means, this is appropriate and good for many and just because it is strange to the culture we live in doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It’s an adventure and adventures take courage.

As I am writing this, my sweet children lay snoring and murmuring in dream-filled sleep. My beloved one, for whom my passion burns even hotter than as a lusty 19-year-old, awaits me in our bedchamber with a sly smile and a bottle of wine. So I will close this with great dispatch…

I will drink deep and be satisfied, for I am blessed amongst men.

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