Remember when we were first married and we could sit for hours dreaming up how many kids we would have and what their names would be?
Nope. Me neither.
Gerhard, you’ve been the ultimate grace-giver in my life. You really have. You’ve walked me through (whether you liked it or not) my baggage, crap, insecurities, and well…a lot of junk.
We never had the kid talk because I didn’t/wouldn’t dream. Somewhere along my broken journey, I began to believe the lie I was not worthy to be a mother. Of course, I didn’t recognize this until I began my healing process. But when you first met me the only way I could beat the pain was to punch it in the face (or so I thought) and decide not to have kids. I began to believe another lie that I didn’t want to have anything to do with children or a family.
But I never told you that. Not once. I deceived you to believe we would start a family in five years. Well, as you know, when five years came I was in deep recovery from old wounds and I finally had to tell you the truth—and break your heart.
I don’t want kids. Ever.
And you hung in there with me while I went to counseling and recovered from guilt and shame and all the junk in between. And it got worse before it ever got close to getting better. But the better was worth it. Because the better resulted in much soul healing as well as a God-given desire to have a child.
The desire alone was a m.i.r.a.c.l.e.
The one baby was amazing.
So was the second one.
For the last nearly ten years you’ve been gracious to always share the miracle of your fatherhood with my dad. I can’t remember a Father’s Day you didn’t oblige my request to celebrate you and dad together.
I think I’m supposed to say thank you. And I am…
But I also want to say—
I’m sorry for not honoring you as first in my life and our family. This goes beyond father’s day—I know you know that. But I guess I want you to know that I know it too.
You’ve sat on the sidelines for many years in many different ways. My choices have affected our marriage, our parenting—our life as a whole. And as much as you are gracious and kind to not allow me to take the credit for all the trouble in our lives…this is about me owning my stuff. And I do—I own it.
Today is the first Father’s Day you have all to yourself. And yet, you still have to share it. But this time you share it with my grief. And to add to it Father’s Day will always be squished up right on top of the anniversary of Dad’s death. Sometimes I like to think Dad was thinking about you when he was holding on last Father’s Day. I think he didn’t want your day of celebrating fatherhood to be marked with pain. But it was a rough day nonetheless. Gerhard, thank you for holding me when all the tears leaked out. Thank you for giving me space today to cry, sob, and be alone when I needed it. Thank you for being a grace-giver on my journey.
This last year has been by far the most difficult year of our lives, hasn’t it? Dad’s death seemed to catapult me into deeper pools of healing—and God swept up our whole family for the ride. It hasn’t been the first year we’ve had marital strife, parenting struggles, or financial difficulties—but it has been by far the worst.
We’ve had to work on a lot this year. And none of the work was easy. We both resisted and fought the process, but within the safety of an encouraging (and challenging) community, we also gave in to the process—together.
And so what was the worst year of my life has transformed into the best days of my life.
And just so you know, (because I think I forget to say it) I’ve noticed. I’ve watched you with our boys. I’ve seen your intentionality to learn tools for patience, rework some old patterns, and lean more into God. Gerhard, through everything we’ve gone through you’ve always been a good dad to our boys. Really good. But—you’ve changed.
You’re not a good dad anymore.
You. Are. A. Great. Dad.
You really are.
Happy Father’s Day.
I love you. I love the kids we never dreamed up. And I love us. ~L