“One more year of loving you; one less year to love you in. That is the sad side. Meanwhile, without totting up the time that remains, let us love each other as much as we can” (Alexander Dumas, New Year’s greeting to his son Alexander, Jr.)
My guy’s love langauge is Acts of Service. This Acts of Service Love Language must be the pre-requisite to be hero – however else would they be able to save their damsels in distress or impress with big and little acts of bravado.
- When we were dating, he took me with him to help feed the cattle. He has his own cattle call – and a commanding way with a corn husk. He even let me think the cows were coming in all because I stood there on a hay bale reciting Shakespeare.
- Every time my garbage disposal stops working, he fixes it.
- He knows how to change my oil, my breaks and those lights behind those awkward fixtures.
- Every time I start painting a room, he saves me from myself, doing the trim. He is awesome at the detail, while I am a big picture kind of girl – at least with painting.
- When the doctor, who was checking my labor progression, said, “Stat c-section” with my 4th son, well my guy pushed my bed, with the doctor in it who was holding the baby off the prolapsed umbilical cord, all the way to the ER, slamming us through too crowded corridors, while I held onto the doctors legs so he wouldn’t fall off the bed. And when he got us there, he leaned over me and prayed, while we waited for the anesthetist who never heard the words Stat. I had 2 heroes that day – my husband and God who held my baby in His hand until he was born safely with APGARs of 9 both times.
He is more comfortable with his Acts of Service Love language, but when he does use the Word of Affirmation Love Language – well, it is probably more eloquent, wise and concise than mine. He has an amazing wisdom and heart. I want to share with you an abridged version of his father’s eulogy he wrote. He allowed me to include it last year for Father’s Day. It is all about the love his parents gave him – and how that is a part of who he is, which is just another of the many reasons why I love him.
I remember reading once that a son mimics his father’s gait – Blue Cotton Dad has tried to do that with his parenting. Following are Blue Cotton Dad’s list of the Important Stuff:
Love Unconditionally: Throughout my life, I have always felt the unconditional love of my mother and father. I was always assured that no matter what I did, no matter the choice, the reward or the punishment, I was always loved.
Exact Punishment for misdeed, followed by reminders of that unconditional love: I remember looking with my brother and sister out the front window watching for Dad’s car to come over the hill and make the turn to head to the house – worrying because we were in trouble. All of us would be crying even before he entered the door. Our deeds would be cataloged and Dad would determine the punishment, usually bending over his knee and receiving a three finger swat to our behinds. We usually ran straight to our rooms and cried until the pain was gone. Then we’d come back out, mom and dad would tell us they loved us and life would return to normal.
Encourage big and little things: Dad and mom would turn small accomplishments into big accomplishments. The grade was not the measure, but how hard we tried.
Recognize what is important to your children: My dad’s encouragement and pride doubled when he recognized how important it was to us. Encouraging words were heard often to keep pushing and not give up.
Selflessly, wantingly, give of yourself: His willingness to lend a hand or words of encouragement to guide through tough decisions continued through marriage, never over-reaching his opinions. True Success comes from the selfless care for others. He was a man who lived biblical principles – never verbally preaching, but preaching through action.
Be Master Builders: My dad and mom made it look so easy – but it was not. They were masters at building up children to be comfortable with who they are. I cannot say enough that loving unconditionally, making small accomplishments look big in the eyes of little children had a magical effect on all of us. Being around both my parents made you feel better because there was always some praise coming your way.
Throughout my life, I have heard that my parents are proud of me. I can never repeat those words enough back to them. I am proud to be their son. The best way to let them see how proud I am to be their son is to raise my sons in the same encouraging, self-less way.”
The greatest sign of a great father is not only when the children and grandchildren say “I want to be just like him” but when the great-grandchildren say, “I want to be just like him.” It is not because of fame or wealth or the coolest car. It is all based on the love you made and gave. That is the kind of inheritance God talks about! The best kind! That is the kind my guy tries to give his family.
“A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous” (Proverbs 13:22).
“But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children”—Psalm 103:17
*Blue Cotton Dad wrote his list to celebrate the kind of man his dad was and read them at his funeral.