Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. – 3 John 1:2-4
I have been thinking about our children (Andrew and Naomi) a lot this week. Of course Sunday was Father’s Day so it’s not surprising. Then there was a fun thread of back and forth conversation in the Facebook comments section that I’m going to share, and it just made me smile.
I could just say that out loud a few times – “Andrew and Naomi make me smile” – and this article will have made its point.
But I’m going to start with Sunday morning, when the Powerpoint I created for my class featured a few gratuitous pictures of the grandchildren.
“What’s missing?” I asked the class, rhetorically. “It’s Father’s Day,” I continued, “and I didn’t think to include any photos of my children!”
Busted! Skip directly to the grandkids!
The thread in question was in response to this post on our daughter Naomi’s Facebook page:
David: Mommy, who is your favorite kid?
Naomi: Right now? Probably Geoff because he isn’t irritating me.
Beks: Am I ever your favorite?
Naomi: Sure you are!
David: We ALL know Uncle Andrew is Grandmama and Grandaddy’s favorite, hahaha.
Naomi: HEY! …that’s probably true.
Then, here are some of the responses:
- Andy Fonfara: “Just going to sit here and wait for Derek Maul and Rebekah Maul to respond…”
- Me: “Andrew was definitely our favorite for 26 months. Then it depended on who was driving us bonkers the most (you took turns).“
- Me again: “This just in… just saying…” Along with a photograph of the collection of international beers (from Andrew) that had literally just arrived.
- Naomi: “German beer from your favorite child. But I’m bringing you Miami beer IN PERSON this week WITH 3/4 grandkids.”
- Me: “Let the competition continue… “
I have to admit that it’s going to take a lot to top hand-delivered beer along with three-quarters of our collection of grandchildren!
My point today is that this being a parent thing is a lifetime journey. It’s easy to think about those brief couple of decades – those beautiful, high intensity, often stressful, every-day-is-a-learning-day, soon-to-be-over years, when the house cannot possibly contain all the love and excitement – as definitive when it comes to family. But it is not true.
What is more true is that a sixty-five year old man, up to his neck in caring for every detail of his own parents’ lives next door, can experience fatherhood on Father’s Day with the same flood of love and joy as he ever did.
Because the story for me and for Rebekah is that we have two children (Andrew and Naomi) who have become four (with Alicia and Craig), and we love them with more intensity than we could ever have imagined, and we are so joyful in who they have become, and we are beyond grateful that they are shining with such intelligence and light, and we are bursting with pride (not the sinful kind!) because of how they are so generously gifting the world with their own “live-like-we-mean-it” lives and loving families.
That’s all I have to say. Other than thanks for remembering me this Father’s Day, and thank you even more for gifting us with such amazing grandchildren.
To paraphrase John: There is no greater joy than to know that my children are walking in the truth (3 John 1:4).
I love you both – DAD
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.