Randa and I have joined four of my kids and their families for a Christmas get-together at the oldest son’s house near Clarkesville, Tennessee. The least bit of snow still lingers in the shade and shadows while a light mist sifts through the afternoon. Inside the old farmhouse, ten young cousins find their own amusements, for the most part, while the adults visit amidst meal preparations. There are occasional interrupting reports of sibling’s violations of house rules, none of which apparently require immediate significant response.
After supper, I move to a softer seat. From the couch, I look across the living room and catch a view of my daughter. She stands between the piano and the dining table, holding her baby daughter. As Susan leans forward slightly, her face turns just a bit and I am caught in a father’s moment.
She just turned twenty-eight a couple of months ago and is even prettier now than when in her teens, which is the usual prime, it seems, for most young women. She spent much of the past year training for and competing in cross-country obstacle challenges, culminating in a Tough Mudders event in October. That over twelve-mile ordeal confirmed her toughness and determination. As I look at her, in unabashed pride and admiration, I smile to myself.
Later, as three of my sons and I play guitars, all of us, including our spouses, sing in the living room while most of the kids play upstairs. Remembering the accolades her brothers used to describe her performance of a particular Lynyrd Skynyrd song, I ask Susan to sing “A Simple Man.”
Dan begins the intro and Ben and Mike join in on their guitars. As Susan begins singing, I sit and listen, enjoying this deep and divine satisfaction. Even God occasionally indulged in the delight he found in his kid.