To My Dad and Mom (I Had to Put Dad's Name First Because It's Fathers' Day)

Do you remember the story of the Prodigal Son? If you don't, read Luke Chapter 15. It doesn't take that long.

I remember reading the story of the Prodigal Son while on my mission, and a short time later hearing the song "Growing Young," an EFY song that explores the ideas and themes of the Progidal Son story. I remember being moved by the song and story, because I felt something akin to the way the boy in the story did when he returned home. I made mistakes and did things stupid and otherwise all throughout my teen years and beyond. And every time I've needed to, I've been able to go to my parents and find them waiting and ready to welcome me with open arms and open hearts.

There have been times where I felt like there was no one to turn to, and pride and shame kept me from turning to those people who would never, ever, turn me away. And when I finally did, contrary to what I had earlier reasoned, they expressed neither anger nor shame nor even disappointment (I knew they were sometimes disappointed in the way I acted, but they never expressed it- at least, not in any way that left me feeling resentful or angry at them, but rather sorrow that I had let them down).

No, they expressed love and appreciation and gratitude for having me as a son. Mom and Dad are two of the most perfect examples of love unfeigned, towards us, their children, towards each other, and towards everyone around them. And whenever they had to discipline any of their seven little nudniks, they never failed to show an increase of love.

Mom is a paragon of grace, intelligence, and love of family, God and life. It boggles mind and reality how she could juggle seven loud, obnoxious and needy kids, as well as piano lessons and babysitting for other loud, obnoxious and needy kids, and a job to provide some much-needed supplemental income. On top of that, she fixed dinner, kept the house clean (which out of necessity meant putting her seven little offspring to work), fulfilled her church responsibilities and kept her family spiritually nourished. She gave us music, real music, which expanded our minds and love of music to include a vast variety of styles and sources. She kept us on task with our chores and school work and still managed to make our childhood a joy and full of learning and culture and laughter.

I love going home and seeing Mom, giving her a hug, asking her what she thinks about a particular piece of music or movie, and making her laugh til her sides hurt with stupid jokes and impressions. That's one sign of a great mom- she always laughs, even when the jokes aren't funny.

Mom, I love you and cherish all that you've given me.

Further, there's a reason why I get teary-eyed at the end of Field of Dreams. True, James Horner's moving score is a catalyst, but there's something even more behind that scene.

Maybe it's because I'm the only boy out of my parents' seven children, or maybe it's the Y-chromosomes acting, but I feel a special connection to my dad. We have a lot of the same interests, 3/4 of which are sports related. But I also love talking to him about anything and everything- from baseball and everything sports to the Gospel and life in general. I get my sense of humor from him, and though it elicits groans more often than laughs, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Dad is everything I want to be in a father, husband, and man. He is patient, kind, softspoken but unmoving in his beliefs and convictions, gentle but firm, and full of the kind of love that the Savior taught.

Back to the Field of Dreams thing, there's a reason I get misty and emotional during the last scene where Ray finally gets to have a catch with his dad. It's because finally, after years of regret and sorrow, Ray gets to have the kind of father-son moment, of which I have had so many with my dad through the years. The kind of relationship Ray didn't know he wanted with his dad for all that time could finally be his- and I've been so blessed to have exactly that kind of relationship with my dad for my whole life.

Dad, I love you and want to and hope to be all that you've raised me to be and shown me that I can be.

Mom and Dad, thank you for raising me to be just as you two are- solid, faithful, strong, and eager to grow. What you've been able to make of me has led me to the best and most wonderful person I could have ever hoped to marry. And I know that if Tamara and I take what you've taught me, combined with what she learned from her parents, there's no thing that could keep my family from meeting you in eternity.

I love you, Mom and Dad.


Tamara said…
SHTEVEN- That is really sweet! Your parents are so loving & are really deserving of that. It's true...not just anyone could've raised such a LOUD & boisterous family, but the Lord had to find two special and willing souls. I'm glad they raised you to be the person that I would find and the man that would one day be a great dad himself. I love your parents, and I love you!
Julina said…
Amen - both to the post and to Tamara's comment.

Thanks for putting it into words - another thing you have in common with our dad :-)

Love you-
emily said…
nice photos! How a bout a shout-out, photo-stealer? (all but the last one...)

Okay, I really don't care.

And I love your sentiments. Thanks for writing this....

Okay, I'll make you some granola now

seriously - thank you for all your kind words. I love you and am so proud of you.
Peeser said…
Thanks for a well-written tribute- and thanks for allowing them to mold you into the man you are today- Yes, they have done an amazing job and have been amazing examples, but you, too are to be commended for choosing to follow those examples. I'm proud of you, bro!

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