Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Life-Breath of My Soul: Giving Praise for My Daughter Tess

"And Jacob said. . .I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that You have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps."
Ge 32:9-10
Tess and I recently spent some quality time together at Cracker Barrel.
God's blessing to Jacob and God's blessing to me do not run parallel. He got two camps. I got two children, so far. But what blessings are those two! And I do share Jacob's sentiment -- I am not worthy of them. Since September 10 is the date my family celebrates God's work in the finalization of our adoption of Tess, I thought I would write of her this week. And there is much good to say. But I will be brief, sharing some recent highlights. But first, about the title of the blog; Steve Camp sings a song in which he says of his children that they are "the life-breath of his soul". That bothers me a little because it sounds like something we should say of God, not man. That being said, I use the words here to convey my bottomless affection for, and enduring devotion to, my precious daughter.

Her Sunday School teacher told Marian that during this past week's prayer request time, Tess said she was thankful that her daddy loved her. She's four years old. I don't know that she could do well defining love. But I am so grateful for a daughter that is secure in my love for her, however she contrives it. What a humbling experience for me to hear her prayer of praise. And she really doesn't know how deeply or how seriously and furiously I actually do love her. Nevertheless, at four, she's sure enough of my love to thank God for it. I am truly grateful for such a gift.

Marian recently asked her some questions which she recorded, along with the answers. Here's a sampling:
1. What is Daddy's favorite color? The answer: "Green, no dark green."
2. What does Daddy like to call you? The answer: "Daddy calls me baby bird and he says he loves me."
3. Anything else you want to say about Daddy? The answer: "I love Daddy because he brings me everywhere and gets me smoothies and I just love him."

Tess often loves on me by giving me gifts, mostly drawings or paintings along with various toys that she says she "doesn't use anymore"; but also rocks, weeds, and other sundry objects. I am thankful for each one. Below are pictures of a few recent offerings.

This is a large envelope in which Tess put a note to me saying, "To Daddy. I love you. Love Tess".
This is me with a heart above my big head. Do I not look happy? Dear men, there are few gifts greater that we can give our children than our happiness. A happy father normally makes a happy home.
Say hi to Buster. Tess gave him to me and told me that "he could go everywhere with me". I keep him in my truck.

Weeds from Tess. She said we should put them in water. Of course I obliged. I strive to say yes to my children.

My niece Hilary is pregnant. On a recent visit with her and her husband Charlie, I was asked to write in an advice book. The pages were quite small and so one must be succinct to stay on one page. So what to say to an expecting parent? Hilary has said of me that I am very deliberate. She's unusually observant. I would say that is an excellent description. So for a deliberate guy with one small page, this was a bit challenging. But I included something like this: "Give your children a lot of love, and discipline them (a form of love) when they are clearly rebellious." That is not all there is to parenting, and one must work out what it means to love. But that thought has served me well thus far. Do what love would do, and only discipline for clear rebellion, not for mistakes, innocent errors, and faulty judgment. Correct these, yes. But don't punish for them. I hope that helps someone.

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