I was cleaning out some email and rereading some others. Back in August of 2001, my father had sent the poem below to me. He was gone by August 2003. The photo above is from a trip to South Carolina and my first daughters graduation in 99. Although it’s a funny shot, it is quite a statement about my relationship with my parents. Communication was not very easy. But somehow, I feel like I just got a hug from a man that didn’t hug often.
What F-A-M-I-L-Y Means
I ran into a stranger as he passed by,
“Oh, excuse me, please” was my reply.
He said, “Please excuse me too;
I wasn’t watching for you.”
We were very polite, this stranger and I. We went on our way
and we said goodbye.
But at home a different story is told,
How we treat our loved ones, young and old.
Later that day, cooking the evening meal, My son stood beside
me very still.
When I turned, I nearly knocked him down. “Move out of the
way” I said with a frown.
He walked away, his little heart broken. I didn’t realize how
harshly I’d spoken.
While I lay awake in bed, God’s still small voice came to me
and said, “While dealing with a stranger, common courtesy you
use, but the children you love, you seem to abuse.
Go and look on the kitchen floor, you’ll find some flowers
there by the door. Those are the flowers he brought for you.
He picked them himself, pink, yellow and blue. He stood very
quietly not to spoil the surprise, And you never saw the tears
that filled his little eyes.
By this time, I felt very small, and now my tears began to fall.
I quietly went and knelt by his bed,
“Wake up, little one, wake up,” I said.
“Are these the flowers you picked for me?” He smiled, “I found
’em, out by the tree. I picked ’em because they’re pretty like
you. I knew you’d like ’em, especially the blue.”
I said, “Son, I’m very sorry for the way I acted today; I
shouldn’t have yelled at you that way.
“He said, “Oh, Mom, that’s okay I love you anyway.”
I said, “Son, I love you too, and I do like the flowers,
especially the blue.”
Are you aware that if we died tomorrow, the company that we
are working for could easily replace us in a matter of days.
But the family we left behind will feel the loss for the rest
of their lives. And come to think of it, we pour ourselves
more into work than to our own family – an unwise investment
indeed, don’t you think?
So what is behind the story? It’s all said in what the word
FAMILY = (F)ATHER (A)ND (M)OTHER, (I) (L)OVE (Y)OU!
Pass this on to everyone that you care about. I just did.