Rumors Become Reality
I had heard rumors about this kind of thing.
When it happened, I was totally unprepared, but I loved it.
The stage was set during a Mother’s Day phone call last spring. While talking with our son, Bryce, who lived in Tacoma at the time, we surprisingly learned that he might move home for the upcoming summer. Of our three grown children, Bryce was voted “Least Likely to Return Home.” He had cast the loudest ballot himself. For years he’d declared he’d rather live in his car than move back home. I understood that. What man wants to move home after being independent for eight years? However, Bryce had (finally) decided to go to college, so within three weeks of Mother’s Day, it happened. Our son moved home for the summer.
But that wasn’t the surprising event.
When Bryce moved home he joined our younger daughter in the once-empty nest. Bethany had just graduated from college and was looking for work. Suddenly I had two of my three kids back home—weird, and cool—and that’s when the amazing thing happened.
Returning home from the office one day, I found Bethany sitting in our hammock, my favorite spot on the patio. Since she was sitting sideways, there was room for me, so I sat down too. We chatted about each of our days. Then it happened. My daughter said, “Thank you.” Not, “Thank you for sitting with me,” or “Thank you for chatting,” but “Thank you for how you raised me.” I almost fell out of the hammock.
Bryce, Bethany and Brad
Bethany had started a temporary job with a company that manages student loans. Part of her job was to sort the mail. As she worked through piles of loan applications, she began to realize how much debt kids are carrying out of college. She, her mom and I had worked hard to make sure she would graduate without any debt. Now she was feeling the freedom of that choice, and she thanked me.
Soon after, my son came home from his summer job working with a local contractor. He came out to the patio with Bethany and me. He had no idea what we’d been talking about, but suddenly he said, “Dad, I want to thank you for raising us in a clean house.” (He’d been working in a messy place, I guess.) Bethany and I burst into laughter. Bryce looked more confused than I felt, but it was a beautiful moment: Two of my children had said thank you in the same evening.
Parenting is often a thankless job. No child says, “Thanks for changing my diaper,” or “Thanks for springing for that trip to Disneyland,” or “Thanks for all those years you spent coaching my soccer team.” But for some untold, mystical reason, here were two of my kids on the same night expressing gratitude for my role in their life as a dad.
I had heard rumors about this kind of thing; when it happened, I loved it.
Brad Franklin is the founding and lead pastor at Lakeside Church in Folsom.