The Puny Pundit

Musings of a big guy with small thoughts.

Father of the Groom

Yesterday I wrote about my emotions and thoughts on the future weddings of my girls.  It’s such a common theme isn’t it?  A father’s pain in losing a daughter is well documented.  What doesn’t get enough press and attention is the importance of a man finding a good woman.  We as fathers worry so much about the men who will marry our daughters but I feel like it is our sons we should worry about the most.  Let me explain.

We all know that women end up wearing the pants in the family.  They are smarter, in some ways stronger, and can be in many instances relationally more in tune.  Even if you have a macho man who marries a quiet passive woman, the tides always turn as the couple ages.  So what is my point.  I believe women can survive loser guys more than men can survive a bad wife.  I have seen countless women marry bad men and still maintain their faith, integrity, family relationships, etc.  When a man marries a bad wife, game over.  He loses everything.

It is interesting to me that this reality has never led our society or culture to consider how important it is for a man to find a really good woman.  Of course women need good men.  But losing a son never gets the press or attention that parents of daughters get.  I truly believe we need to focus on our sons just as much.  If our daughters marry losers we will still most likely see them and have a relationship with them.  If our son marries a Jezebel we will most likely lose him for good.

Is this sexist?  I don’t know.  That is not my intent.  My intention is to express the need for fathers to think about the weddings of their sons as much as the weddings of their daughters.  I have spoken to countless men who have walked their daughters down the aisle.  They always say that it is different than watching their sons get married.  Watching their daughters getting married stings a lot more for them.  Maybe us fathers need to reconsider.

My brother and I are very blessed.  We are married to two incredible women.  My parents and extended family see and appreciate the fact that they have a good relationship with two daughter-in-laws.  Our wives are really good to our family.  My dad never had a daughter so he didn’t focus on losing his little girl.  All he had were boys.  But my dad talked to us about the importance of marriage and finding a good wife since we were 13 years old.  I think my dad observed what I have observed and decided to instill the importance of finding a good wife.  Every Saturday morning we would have family devotions.  Without fail he would talk about two things…(i) how important it is to find a good wife and (ii) how important it is to understand that every penny we have as a family is a gift from God.

So I would like to raise a challenge to fathers who have sons.  Let us think and prepare for our sons weddings as we do our daughters.  We men are weak.  We men are fragile.  We are prone to wander.  All the more we need good wives.

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Father of The Future Brides

12 years ago I was engaged to my wife.  We were pretty young (24 and 21 at the time).  Like the idiot I am, I decide to buy my in-laws a copy of the movie, “Father of the Bride”.  I thought it would be a great idea to watch this movie all together and to look at the wedding and marriage through the lens of comedy.  There had been a little drama along the way and I thought this would really help all of us enjoy the preparations for the wedding.

Well, we never finished the movie.  From the opening line my mother-in-law started to cry.  Half way into the movie, she runs upstairs because it was too much.  Minutes later my father-in-law goes up with a broken heart.  In my immaturity I wondered with a measure of annoyance, “What the heck is their problem?”  At the time I really didn’t get it.

Last night my wife and I watched that movie for the first time in 12 years.  I am now the father of four amazing little girls.  From the opening line I could not stop crying.  Prior to last night, I have only cried twice in a movie.  Life is Beautiful?  Fell asleep.  The English Patient?  Am I a man?  No way.  Tae Guk Gi (the korean “saving private ryan” wannabe)?  Not a chance.  Death.  Love.  Drama.  None of it can make me cry.  This movie…my wife and I cried and cried from beginning to end.  Even as I type this entry my eyes are tearing up.

We cried for a couple of reasons.  First, my wife was thinking about our wedding and marriage from her father’s perspective.  Although I didn’t cry for that reason it really hit me hard that I was so insensitive to what my in-laws were going through.  It wasn’t just buying an inappropriate movie for them.  In my desire to get married I never thought about how hard it must have been for them especially since I married my wife when she was 21 years old.  For my wife she couldn’t stop thinking about her own father during the movie.

The second reason we both cried is obvious.  We were envisioning ourselves in the future watching our daughters becoming a family with a man.  This is the opening monologue…

Annie Banks Mackenzie. That’s her married name: Mackenzie. You fathers will understand. You have a little girl. An adorable little girl who looks up to you and adores you in a way you could never have imagined. I remember how her little hand used to fit inside mine. Then comes the day when she wants to get her ears pierced, and wants you to drop her off a block before the movie theater. From that moment on you’re in a constant panic. You worry about her meeting the wrong kind of guy, the kind of guy who only wants one thing, and you know exactly what that one thing is, because it’s the same thing you wanted when you were their age. Then, you stop worrying about her meeting the wrong guy, and you worry about her meeting the right guy. That’s the greatest fear of all, because, then you lose her.

In the movie, Annie Banks is an amazing daughter.  When her father complains about the cost of the wedding, she falls asleep reading an article entitled, “How to have a wedding on a budget”.  My wife and I couldn’t stop thinking about #1 and #2. We cried thinking about how much they will want us to love their husbands.  How much they will want their husbands to love our family.  I get happy when I think about some of the amazing men I know and the thought that my daughters might marry people like them…full of character, men of faith.  Then I think about the countless losers I know and then my heart sinks at the thought of them loving someone who doesn’t have the capacity to love them in a way they deserve.

I have always said to young people who have asked about kids that raising kids will bring every emotion everyday.  Joy. Fear. Anger. Laughter. Etc. Thinking about my daughters’ future weddings bring all of that times 100.  Daughters think the world of dads.  The thought of that changing saddens me though I know it is a necessary step..leaving us to become one with another.  The thought of our daughters starting a family also brings joy, fear, anxiety…all of it everyday.

It has been a few days since we saw that movie.  I am glad we saw it.  We are enjoying each day with our girls (and son) because we have already seen that time goes so fast.  We want to enjoy them while we have them with us.  Casting our hearts to the future has really changed our perspective of the present.  Things that would normally annoy us are overlooked.  Things that would make us angry are let go.  Hmmm.  Sounds like a good habit…casting our hearts to the future to determine our present….

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Brain Damage

Raising a large family is awesome.  The joy far outweigh the challenge.  As great as it is, parenting does not happen without cost.  I have found that the biggest price I have paid in being a parent is the loss of my memory.  Below are some examples of what I do sometimes because of brain damage.

1. When I call for a kid I yell all five names before I get the right one.  “#1…I mean #2…I mean #4…I mean #3…#5 get down here now!!!

2. When I am alone with the kids I will get them ready and into the car.  I start driving completely forgetting where we are going.  Sometimes I ask the kids where we are going and in the process do example #1 again.

3. On several occasions I have gone into restaurants for take out, paid for the food, and then left without the food.  Each time the cashier had to come out after me to remind me to take the food.

4. One time #2 asked me, “Who is your favorite daughter?”  I answered, “I love all three of you different but the same amount.”  #1 replied, “But you have four daughters.”

5. The other day I took my wife’s car to the market.  When I came out I spent 15 minutes looking for my car.

6. I dial a number and by the time the person picks up I complete forget who I was calling.

7. Everyone walks into a room and forgets why they are there or what they are looking for.  Lately I walk into bathrooms because I have to pee and forget why I am there and then leave without peeing.  Seriously.  Happened a couple times last month.

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Awkward Love | the carry

Growing up I watched movies where women jumped into the arms of their men.  I saw scenes of men sweeping their wives off their feet and carrying them to the bedroom.  Since I was young I wanted this to be my reality.  Then I met my wife.  She hates being carried.  When I say hate, I mean hate.  Throughout our marriage I have tried multiple times to sweep her off her feet (literally).  The result…massive convulsions and strikes to my head with her screaming, “Put me down!  Put me down!  Stop it!”  Imagine Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man except she is hitting my head.

Most men would stop.  I am not your typical man.  In the face of such reaction I felt I needed to help my wife overcome her distaste for being carried.  So for the last 10.5 years I have tried over and over again to pick her up off her feet.  I felt that I could change her so that she could fulfill a fantasy I have.  Will I ever stop?  Will I ever leave my wife alone?

She just walked into my office while I was trying to type this entry.  I tried picking her up again.  FAIL!

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Socially Savvy

#5 is a character.  She looks exactly like #2 and has a lot of similar personality traits.  Click Here and Here to read about #2’s savvy ways.  One day we had a gathering for our extended family on my side.  My aunt, who absolutely adores the kids, went up to #5 and said, “Hi #5!  Do you remember me?  What is my name?”

#5 doesn’t even blink and replies, “I will tell you later.”

This little kid didn’t want to make my aunt sad.  Remember she is a pastor’s kid so she has a lot of adult interaction especially on Sundays.  She has seen many times how people react when she doesn’t know their names.  They express sadness.  So when my aunt asked and she didn’t know her name, she came up with that response.  Our entire extended family still talks about that exchange every time we get together.

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