Today after an awesome service at Harmony Church, I took the boys out for a “rock throwing party” at Cass Bay, just past Lyttleton this is a fantastic little bay to spend a quiet family afternoon. We had lunch out by the sea, had a contest on who could let his rock bounce on the waves the most times, looking for crabs and other little animals, all in all a great afternoon with the boys. I even had some time to read a guitar magazine in between the picnicking.
And just look at the picture on the left to get an idea of the scenery absolutely stunning. Considering that it is raining when I write this post, I guess I can consider myself blessed for this afternoon in the sun, with my three fantastic boys while mama’s out with her sister having good bonding time as well.
I guess if there’s one thing I believe it is that no present can make up for quality time with your children. And while it is quality time for them, it is also quality time for me, not just because I have a good time with the boys but because they remind you of this important edge that children have over adult: as being completely reliant on, loving and trusting your parents, not hindered by any doubts, freely ands open towards a world of new discoveries every day, while at the same time protected where potential harm may be looming. In a sense that is also what my first year as a Christian was all about, if anything it was about learning to be a son again.
On the way back to the car we stopped for another half an hour so the boys could lose some more energy on the playground at the parking. While were there, that had been there before we came out was parked there. In it were three people in their twenties.
While the boys were out in the playground, the two passengers came out, and by the state of their appearance and the way they talked, considerably drunk and I do not rule out more than that. Their talk was aggressive, especially to the third member of their party, a female.
My boys kept on playing for some longer and it became time to get home for diner, so of to the car we went, which was parked right next to theirs. On the parking lot the female driver of the car, had another sip of her RTD and asked me if I needed more room. I was quite alright thanks. And than all out of the blue it came:
I have been watching you four for the last 45 minutes or so and I am so jealous of those boys. I wish I had a father like that. My Father and mother never had had any time for me. I got all I needed and wanted and more in terms of things as long as I shut up. but never any time like you here on the beach with your boys.
I asked the inevitable question:
“Is that why you are out here on the piss with two guys that are treating you like dirt? Let me guess, you paid for the booze didn’t you? Regrettably I am too old to be the father of such a rebellious girl.”
“I’m 24 how old are you than?”
“46 and set in my ways.”
“Do you live in Lyttleton as well?”
“In Russley near the airport”
“Is that close to Hornby?”
“Man you really could have been my father, but you look so fit still. Fitter than those two blobs.” ( I learned now that this refers to fat or lazy (or both) people).”
“I’d adopt you in an instance my little charmer if I knew I would be able to handle a girl like you.”
That turned out to be the apparent soft spot and tears came in her eyes.
You’d have nothing to handle if I felt welcome and loved at home, if I actually had a home.”
And this is where the missed opportunity came in, as could have told her, so much in line with what I heard at morning service, about the father heart, about how Jesus, how God loves us. How we can all have a Father that is more than happy to spend as much quality time with us as we wish for. I could have prayed with her, I could have given her a Bible, as I always have at least one spare copy in the car. But with my three boys in the car and two aggressive and drink male specimens heading back to the car to see what was going on I chose for the safety of my boys.
“What’s up mate, is she giving you a hard time?”
“Nope mates, we were just having a good chat.
I don’t know whose girlfriend she is but treat her well, she’s precious.”
The girl stepped out of the car as good as she could and gave me a hug.
“You, you are an awesome father, mary fucking Christmas and whatever to you your boys and looking at the ring your wife or ex. I love you”
Thanks sister and I love you too.
I looked at the two big dudes, flabbergasted and wild, her, and my own boys and decided that it was time to move on. My own boys safety first. Before I hit the Lyttleton Tunnel she was right behind me with the boys in the back. She followed me at least half way home. Then at a traffic light she pulled up on my right side. And when the light when green she waved, I waved back and she made a u-turn. The boys, by now curious , were asking if she was my new girl friend lol. I explained about house and home and love.
It kept on recurring to me that being a provider, actually refers to being the one that offers a home, a loving and nurturing environment with room to grow, as opposed to a house, a building . And this girl was the living example of how no material stuff can’t make up for the experiential love of parents. I decided to put my thoughts to the test.
” Boys I was thinking: how we could maybe give away you Christmas presents to Fajana (our vcision child adoptee) and friends. You trade it in for a speciual day with mama or papa”
“Can we at least keep ine small one under the tree?”
“Sure you can”
To my surprise they all agreed that that was ok. While we could sing praisesabout that, in fact it illustrates what is high on the priority list of at least my children although I think it reaches wider (given my earlier talk).
Perhaps as parents we could consider that one gift that can not be bought at the Warehouse, that special bargain that only parents can give: undivided love and attention, special family time, whether on top of all this material stuff or as suggested. Perhaps we parents could all make providing a home in which lout children feel special, loved and nurtured a first priority, and that means that above all Spending Time with out children a priority. So that despite all the material stuff they do not end up on the piss driving around so as to avoid being at the house that was never a home with loving, compassionate and nurturing parents.
I know what I have to work on this Christmas and thereafter, what are your thoughts?