Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Baby Boy

I didn't shed a single tear when Daddy died. So different from when Mama. Then, I thought that I'd never stop crying. I was always scared of Daddy. His belt. The beatings that he could give. Without provocation, it seemed. So, I tried to be good. Did my homework. Did my chores. Stayed out of trouble. Stayed in my room and read. Stayed out of his way. Daddy worked hard. Even when he was a boy. Quit school in seventh grade to help his poppa farm. He took care of us, too. We always had food. And clothes. And shoes. Not many extras, though. Not much affection. Not much attention. One time when I was a little girl, he showed somebody--I don't remember who--something that I had written. He said, "She's got good handwriting." I don't think that I'll ever forget that compliment. Daddy got mad at me right before my Senior year. Didn't come to watch me cheer. Didn't attend my high school graduation. Didn't say a word to me for over a year. Then one spring not too long after that, he left Mama. Just walked out. On all of us. He could have been decent. Asked her for a divorce. She would have. But he didn't. He left. Scandalously. Broke Mama's heart. She forgave him, though. One time, I asked her, "Mama, how could you forgive him? After all of the awful things that he's done. How could you?" She said, "I learned a long time ago that me hating him wasn't hurting him a bit. But if I didn't let go of that hate and forgive him, it was gonna end up killing me." I guess I'm not like Mama. I mean he didn't know my children. He didn't even recognize me when he saw me at my uncle's funeral. I said, "Hello, Daddy." He just looked at me. With this astonished expression on his face. He said, "Well, who are you?" How could he not know me? Not know that the blue eyes looking straight into his were his own. But when he got sick, I tried to help him. Cleaned his house. Took him food. Drove him into Montgomery to the cancer center. That's what Mama wanted me to do. So, I did. During that time, Daddy told me. "I love you." I'd never heard those words from him before. I told him that I loved him. I meant it. I just didn't feel it. Then his other family--I use that word loosely-- came back into the picture. My brothers and sisters and I left him alone. At his request. Daddy spent the last two years of his life in a nursing home. I visited him once. To tell him about Mama. He didn't seem to care much. Made me angry. My cousin preached Daddy's funeral. Talked honestly about Daddy and our family and how things were. Talked about how my daddy while not the youngest child was the youngest of his brothers. And on this day we were sending a baby boy home to heaven. Something about that image of Daddy being a baby boy. Being somebody's baby boy. His mother's. God's. Moved me. But not to tears. Not pretty. Just true. Maybe someday. Sweet dreams, Deb


  1. Deb,

    We all have a father story. This is beautifully written. Thank you for sharing such tender thoughts.

    Writing with purpose,


  2. Deb,

    I guess he hurt all of us in one way or the other. With all of the heartache and pain he gave us I am thankful that he is with the best Father anyone can ever have.

    Love You,

  3. Wow... that's something to chew on friend. There is so much here; it makes me cry for you and for your family. But then you couched your painful grief in an image that roots toward grace.

    A young boy whose earlier shaping had an obvious effect on the man he became. I cannot fathom this kind of upbringing. It breaks my heart, but I have seen the hand of God minister his grace in miraculous ways.

    I am praying that he does the same in your life. Your story is uniquely yours. May God use it for his glory as only he can. Thanks for sharing this with us.


  4. Sweet Friends and Sis,

    Thanks you for your heartfelt responses to this post.

    Everything is ok.

    I've come to know God as my Abba. My daddy. Who loves me with an everlasting love that never disappoints. That's how He loves all of us.

    I am thankful for your concern.

  5. There's nothing sadder than a dad who doesn't care about his children. I know. I'm a delivered reject who was adopted by the Father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Every daughter needs a father who tells them they're beautiful, even if they aren't. God's going to give me the biggest bear hug and tell me I'm beautiful whenever when I go home! Thanks for sharing and reminding me how blessed I am!

  6. Hi, Deb! Thanks so much for visiting my blog. This was such a moving post. I'm so blessed to have a healthy, loving relationship with my earthly dad, but I have so many friends and family who do not. I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to direct them to this post and the "Abba" post that follows. I know that it will ring true and speak to their hearts.

    My mom had a broken relationship with her biological father and her step-father and her view of her heavenly father was affected. God introduced her to himself as Abba Father through a process over several years and it has been so healing for her. "Abba" is such a beautiful word, isn't it?

  7. bluecottonmemory,

    I see your beauty when I read your blog; your love for your sons shines through the each line.

    Your love shows us the God of Abraham. Of Issac. And of Jacob.

    Our Father in heaven.

    And that's true beauty.

  8. Whimzie,

    Thanks for stopping by. Congratulations of your 100th post!

    Feel free to direct anyone to these posts that you think might be helped. That's what this blog is all about.

    P.S. I'm still not over your Snoodle epic.