Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Kiss For Daddy

My Daughters and My Father
One of the saddest things for me in seeing my daughters grow up, is that when they were younger, from toddler to say, age 12 or so, they would both come running to greet me at the door when I got home from anywhere. Before I went back to school and earned a degree that allowed me to have my very first day job, I worked nights and they were in bed most times, but still, homecomings when they were up were great.

And in the few years I had from when I got my present job after college, working days until they grew out of it, I would get excited coming home in anticipation of my daughters' reception. A few blocks from home, I would get a bit giddy with anticipation. 'Daddy's home!' they would yell and each daughter would run up and grab one leg to hug, and when they were bigger, we'd have a group hug. Wonderful!

But, alas, kids grow up and out of such things, and although if they are at home now when I get home they say hello, ask about my day, and sometimes give me a hug, I miss how expressive they were when they were little. I sure miss the pure look of happiness on their faces just to see me. We don't love each other any less now than then, quite the contrary, but kids grow up and pull back from you as a natural part of their development.

God puts within each of us in our teen years the desire to be our own person and to eventually be on our own. It's only natural.

But, it's by far one of the hardest things to get over as we all grow older.

I remember as a boy, each night as I went to bed I would kiss my Mom and Dad on the cheek tell them good-night. And I also remember with great clarity the night I held back and didn't kiss my Father good-night. I just told him good-night.

But my heart was bursting with guilt because I thought that I should still want to kiss him, but some part of me felt that was for kids to do. I remember laying awake and worrying whether or not I hurt my Father's feelings that night.

That's one of the things that, even as a 43 year old man, I can still get all verklempt just thinking about. My Father died in 1994, a few days after my 32nd birthday. He and my Mom had brought a cake to me on my birthday, and as they left we all hugged and said I love you to one another. I'm so thankful that some of my last words to my Father were how I loved him.

I think I'll go home tonight and give my family hugs and kisses all around.

As a young man I didn't want dogs in the house. My wife had always had house pets while growing up, but I hadn't, and couldn't be bothered with them.

Then, six or seven years ago, I guess I got to a point where I just couldn't justify not allowing my wife to get a dog. I had finally mellowed out on that point.

To make the story short, we now have 4 miniature poodles. One is actually a toy poodle though.

And I dearly love those little rascals.

And wouldn't you know it, when I get home from work in the evenings, they raise such a clatter of noise with barks and howls and running around just because I'm back.

They even do it if I've been outside for five minutes taking out the trash, but I'm not complaining.

My daughters may have grown out of the big welcome like I did with my parents, but those poodles are stuck at being like kids, and as long as we have them, I KNOW I'll have a big welcome home every day.

That's good enough for me.

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