I was at the supermarket the other after a long day of work and had a long list of weekly groceries. One of our meals consisted of required securing of good ole American hot dogs and buns to match. I am surprised to find that not much has changed in the quantity matching of hot dogs and buns since George Banks’ rant in the classic movie Father of the Bride (1991). Any father goes through a moment or two like this. If you have never seen this scene, you will relate when things get tough trying to take care of everyone. We’ve all earned the right from time to time to lose it like George.
George Banks sums it up in the movie,
You fathers will understand. You have a little girl. An adorable little girl who looks up to you and adores you in a way you could never have imagined. I remember how her little hand used to fit inside mine. Then comes the day when she wants to get her ears pierced, and wants you to drop her off a block before the movie theater. From that moment on, you are in a constant panic. You worry about her meeting the wrong kind of guy, the kind of guy who only wants one thing, and you know exactly what that one thing is, because it’s the same thing you wanted when you were their age. Then, you stop worrying about her meeting the wrong guy, and you worry about her meeting the right guy. That’s the greatest fear of all, because, then you lose her.
I have 2 and 4-year-old daughters. I sure hope I’m not that point of giving them away like George Banks. I feel his similar sentiment and of course it matters to me who they could potentially marry one day. That is years away of course and even if they choose to never get married I must prepare for that. There is a different loss I need to prepare for, which is independence from both mom and dad. This week I felt a bit of what George described when I dropped my oldest daughter Madelyn off at her new school for Junior Kindergarten. Yes, it is only a three-day school this year but it represented a step toward becoming more of an individual that gradually won’t need me like she does now.
Unless they are in denial, any mother or father understands that their job to raise children is the hardest occupation they will have in life. Forget the spreadsheets, TPS reports, or whatever you do in life for a day job.
In the past 5 years I’ve discovered that my greatest challenge is sharing who Jesus Christ is to my kids amidst all of life’s busyness. I didn’t know who Jesus really was until I was 15 but it has been my prayer since both my girls were born for them to understand and trust in Christ in their circumstances. Their mother nor I will be there for every difficult moment and I can guarantee life will be have plenty of them. I want them to recognize that they are more than a bride here on earth but one being prepared for their savior, Jesus.
Part of God’s work is allowing me to let go and trust him in this process and allow him to be the real “father of the bride”. The issue is in my heart and how I need to let go over time. Our kids are God’s kids and the more I recognize that, the more freedom I have to be a good father and allow God to work.
God help us all, right?
If you are parent, what have you learned in “letting go” of your kids?