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Children

I am a father of three wonderful daughters, ages 25, 18, 15. It is an unfamiliar feeling to release them into adulthood a little at a time. I remember when I dropped my oldest daughter off at college for the first time and the angst, tears and uncertainty i felt. Later, I found it was for good reason. She did not handle freedom well and that first year was quite a ride for us all.


Now, seven years later, she is a high school teacher, advocate for the marginalized and seeking to serve her world by giving her life span to fight for the rights of those with no rights. She is considering Law School, an Advocacy program or some other vehicle to spend her gifts and passion. A few years ago she broke my heart by getting a tattoo, but looking back on it, it was appropriate for what she sees herself as. Her body art is a word. It is the Greek word ‘naovß’, which is transliterated naos, which means ‘temple.’ In Hebrew it is used of the Temple at Jerusalem, the actual building consisting of the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. It is a derivative of the word Naio, which means dwelling place.

Her declaration was this – I am a place for God to live in the earth. At the same time, she still frustrates me with some of her designs on life and living. I am learning to let her discover and she is learning to let me speak without it being a parent telling her what to believe. We share a lot in common and of her I am proud.

Until she was almost eight years old she was an only child. At that time, my second daughter was born. It was eighteeen years ago next week. When she was born the Doctor and nursing staff told us she had a perfect score on her newborn scores (whatever those were) and she was quite a wonderful baby. Now, at eighteen, she is a daughter you can almost trust implicitly. I cannot think of any way in which she is untrustworthy. At the same time, even though she is a good student, she could just as easily NOT go to college as go. She loves her career as a burrito builder at Taco Bell and is quite content to work 16 hours a week, have spending money and sleep til noon on Saturday.

She has a great penchant for acting, but she has not possessed the confidence to show her talent much. She did act in a community theater presentation of The Wizard of Oz and smaller venues like church plays. For some reason she has this bent about her in which, although she is not, she acts angry a lot. I do not get that and I am always trying to talk her out of it….thus far to no avail. She graduates from High School in six months and I wonder, as I did with her older sister and will with her younger sister, wonder if I did enough.

She is talented, but not very ready for adult life. She used to say she would live at home until she was 30. Now, I wonder if that might be true. I doubt it, to be serious, but you always wonder, don’t you?

Finally, my baby girl is also my tallest daughter, most vivacious and a social butterfly. She almost always has people around her. I have no doubt of her success in life. I do wonder about what she will be successful doing, though, and I await the day she launches into the world with great anticipation. She is loving and lovely and has confidence in whatever she tries. The girl can dance, too! She will be sixteen in January and she thinks she is twenty.

Being a father for the last quarter-century has taught me more than I have taught my daughters. Now, as they emerge into adulthood i wonder what is still left to tell them, show them, teach them, leave with them. I may always feel I did not do enough and now, as I face change in my own heart and soul, my greatest wonder is whether I will negatively affect them, and to what degree.

The biggest problem I still have to face? I don’t know, but I do know I have to pay for three weddings. If you are inclined to donate, please call 1 800 MARRIAGE (please do not call that number as I have no idea who owns it or where it might ring.)

So, here I am being a dad and wondering.

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