I was at the breakfast table with two of my three boys, and I was crying.
Somehow the conversation had turned from the trivial and I had started sharing my concern over our lack of love as a family. I began talking about what I felt it meant to be a family. It was a school morning for my oldest son so he was busy eating. The middle son was busy lounging between the sheets upstairs. The youngest one, Mr. Compassion, was busy talking over me while he ate (as usual).
“My father was my hero,” I blurted. The words had slipped from my mouth. I hadn’t meant to say them out loud, although they had been shouting from my spirit for many days. A recent trip to my childhood home had sparked some old memories.
My oldest son paused a little (I think). Tears were forming in my eyes so my vision was a tad blurred. I rarely cry in front of my kids but I didn’t care at that moment. My heavy heart needed unloading.
I told my boys about my dad, a simple country man who put in long hours at the paper mill and shared his love for sports, deer hunting, and fixing things with his third girl (me).
“I don’t get the feeling that you guys think your parents are your heroes,” I continued, realizing my need for them to show me love. Suddenly I felt like the child among children.
There, I finally said it. I was crying by this time, silent tears running down my cheeks. Mr. Compassion put down his egg biscuit and got up from his seat. As he hugged me, I shared the words of that Warren Barfield song from the movie Fireproof, “If we try to leave may God send angels to guard the door.”
As a mom of three adopted boys, I am acutely aware of the temptation to drift away. To say I have another family—somewhere. To pull up short on connecting with the two adults that keep reaching out in an effort to make a forever family.
I ended our breakfast ‘conversation’ by stressing our need to take family seriously. Like love, family is not an accident. Like love, family comes into being on purpose. It cries out for constant nurture, compassion, and attention. Unfortunately it crumbles so quickly without Love fighting for it.
Our family is not crumbling. We do have work ahead of us, but we are not on the brink of collapsing into a pile of rubble. We do have Mr. Compassion, after all. But most importantly, we have God-sent angels guarding the door.