My girls kicked off their boots and ran, comfortable in their familiar surroundings. One went up, the other down, kids playing in different places all over the house. The atmosphere was fun and inviting.
The Mom was upstairs in the kitchen (naturally...) and the Dad hadn't arrived home from work yet. I sat in the family room, watching some of the kids play, while Alea climbed all over me, as usual.
Soon, we hear the door. Dad's home! someone says. Dad comes in ready and engaged. He goes throughout the house, seeking out his children, just to give a touch and say hello. Alea makes eyes at him... He smiles back, saying I'm gonna get you in just a minute... Alea continues to tease and he laughs, while trying to finish his conversation with someone else. Soon, they are tickling and giggling, chasing and hiding, laughing and playing... The giggles erupted out of Alea with such joy and enthusiasm. She was in her glory, being loved on and played with by a Daddy.
I watched this with laughter of my own, and with unbearable pain. I had to turn my face away before he saw my sobs (though they weren't hidden very well). He was so much like Lynn, just how Lynn would have come home. He exposed our loss, the void that was Lynn, Daddy, and I missed him so.
STILL, it was the most beautiful gift... Daddy.
I am blessed to know real community. I am blessed to have beautiful friendships. I am blessed to have this one among many men in my life who did not shy away from us because we were awkward or emotional, and have no male counter-part... But he approached us in love, acceptance, and respect. A Daddy who offered his arms to my daughters telling them by his actions, You are still worthy to be loved! You are still worthy of a father's attention! I will be the arms to remind you of this love, even if only for a moment.
What does it mean to care for widows and orphans? Do we ostracize them? Do we avoid them because it's uncomfortable? Or do we love them? And what does this love look like? I am convinced that what Heidi Baker says is true... What is love if it doesn't look like something? In this case, it looked like arms, laughing, playing.
My friend, those arms around my daughters wiggly body... Thank you for giving them each a Daddy's love and opening up your heart to them, even if it was for a moment.
(This is one story among many. I am so blessed in my community of friends and family. We are not meant to journey this alone and could not make it if we tried. Thank you.)