A Girl Just Like the Girl

 

kate and dan wedding cakeShe stands in the street next to his open car door, flirting with him, delaying his departure.  He laughs.  She leans in and kisses him and says she knows he needs to go.  She will miss him, she says, and touches his shoulder.

Second son Andrew and I look on together as his grandmother finishes settling her husband of 52 years in to the passenger side of the car.  She tucks his jacket out of the way and tells him that she will be following behind in another car.

They aren’t often separated these days but are driving home from Nashville to Montgomery in two cars driven by my cousins.  They all thought it would be fun to have a girl car and a boy car.

She tells him, teasingly, to behave himself on the ride.  He laughs heartily, saying how could she expect that of his nephew and him without the womenfolk to keep them straight.  She says goodbye and closes his door for him.

Andrew continues to look on, with a faint smile.

He is 20 years old and home from college.

“That’s what you need to be thinking about,” I say.  We make eye contact and he nods in agreement and smiles again.  My eyes are misty, and his just might be too.

He is a sophomore at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Life is good at Carolina.  Pictures of him with friends glow with youth, beauty and vitality, but he is searching.  He has always been a man with a plan.

Years ago I was teaching a Bible lesson to Andrew and his brother Edward.  Andrew was 7, Edward was 8, and we read the story from Genesis where the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were very beautiful and took them to be their wives. Edward ventured that perhaps it would work out to be O.K. to marry them because they were very beautiful, and you could always teach your wife to be a follower of God.  But Andrew, said, “Oh no Edward, if they are very beautiful they might teach us not to follow God.”   Amen.

I have prayed that Andrew will find a wife who will love him like I love his dad.  In the general sense, I am completely comfortable with that prayer.  But then, I start thinking about specifics and find that I have stumbled upon a valuable perspective.  Shall I pray for my son a wife that will treat him day in and day out like I treat his father? That she will love him selflessly like I love his father?  That she will respect him, be patient with him, encourage him . . . You get the picture.  Convicting indeed!   If you want to quickly have an attitude adjustment as a wife, just start considering praying that your son’s wife will treat him like you treat his father.

Dan in planePerhaps, instead, I should pray for him a wife that will love him like his grandmother loves his grandfather.  She has often told me, and more importantly has shown me, that a good marriage consists of falling in love with the same man many times.  She first fell in love on Christmas Eve, 1958, with a dashing young Army pilot.  Fifty-four Christmas Eve’s later, she is falling in love all over again.

My son has seen good marriages, but the reality is that both he and his future wife will love each other far from perfectly. So I pray, instead, that they both simply know and can share the grace of God.

For it takes grace for love to endure, especially when the race is long and the obstacles considerable.

There is a compelling scene in the movie Chariots of Fire, where Eric Liddell speaks to a crowd gathered in the rain to watch him run a race.

And where does the power come from, to see the race to its end? From within. Jesus said, “Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. If with all your hearts, you truly seek me, you shall ever surely find me.” If you commit yourself to the love of Christ, then that is how you run a straight race.

 

My mother is a very hard-working and capable woman.  It is not a surprise that she is able to do all that is involved now in taking on ever-increasing responsibilities regarding care for her home and husband.  It is not even a surprise that she pours herself out in selfless and sacrificial love.

But, there is something quite surprising unfolding each day in her home, something true and good and beautiful.

You see, my mother is by nature fearful.  As a young child during of World War II, she thought the Germans were really flying overhead as her family participated in blackout drills in her small town in south Alabama.  As a mother of teenagers she envisioned us lying bleeding in a ditch if we were 15 minutes late arriving home.  Volatile stock markets have had her fearing financial doom.

But now, faced with a long good-bye as my father’s memory fades, she is fearless.  She is joyful.  She is faithful.  She has peace that passes understanding.

hatShe lives and loves in the moment, without concern for a dissolving past or an uncertain future. At times my father might be a little confused, perhaps unable to find something. But then she is there, she takes his arm, looks up at him with an adoring smile, and he couldn’t care less that he cannot find his hat.  All he knows, at that moment, is that this woman is very pleased with him, and that makes the matter of the hat much less important.

The Kingdom of God is within her for Christ is reigning there.

And she no longer worries about lost hats, fading memories, or really anything else.  She has seen Jesus looking at her with complete love and acceptance. And now she is able to give that same love to Dad.

There is grace enough for this moment and for every moment to come.

Thanks be to God.

Kate and Dan lake

The title of the essay comes from this popular song from 1911,

I Want a Girl Just Like the Girl that Married Dear Old Dad.

Kate and Dan glamour

 

 

 

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37 thoughts on “A Girl Just Like the Girl

  1. Elizabeth

    Beautiful.

    As I read, I thought of my paternal grandparents, who laughed with and teased each other until the end. Married over sixty years, they had endured hardships (Great Depression, poverty, death of children, and much more), and yet kept their humor. By no means perfect people, they had their glaring flaws, but I always admired their love and their shared smiles.

    Reply
  2. Jean Watkins

    Molly, how beautiful! Brought tears to my eyes! I love you all! The first memory of the first Foster reuinion, oh what a wonderful time, and Thsnksgiving and Christmas at Pa and Dee’s! What a glorious family we do have! Your story was so well written and I too try tp bring my boys up with the love like their granddaddy had! I often put in my headphones and listen to the music he chose for his funeral and have my time with him and I know he is guiding me along with God to instill those values in my boys that made him the great man he was! My prayer too is very similar, as my mom had so much patiemce and love, and my mom and dad were strong enough to do what many cant, they knew the Lord was calling him home and planned a beautiful celebration together for that day, that takes faith, love, and devotion! Mom is very concerned about Aunt Kate and Uncle Dan she has tried to call a couple times, if you get a chance give her a call, she even mentioned them yesterday!

    Reply
    1. In-House Counsel Post author

      Thanks Jean. I have often thought of your Dad’s funeral service. The joy that carried him through his life was shared with all of us that day. He was always so much fun! I remember fondly he and your mom interacting, how he would say something outlandish and she would just laugh softly, roll her eyes and say something like “oh, James.” We have indeed been blessed with a loving family.

      Reply
  3. oliveshootinstitute

    You are all so blessed. You were given beautiful examples of marriage and they were given a daughter who has faithfully scribed part of their legacy. I loved reading this and feel privileged to read something this encouraging and thought-provoking.

    Reply
    1. In-House Counsel Post author

      How kind. Thank you. It is a precious thing to witness. I am thankful for their example and their willingness to let me share a glimpse of their lives. It is my wish that it will give others hope and encouragement as we all deal with challenges of our own aging and caring for others.

      Reply
  4. Gary Waters

    Molly,

    As you know, Big Dan and Ms. Kate are dear friends. They have always been a blessing to me. Your parents have always been there to love me and support me during great times and during times that have been more difficult. I am a better person today because of the relationship that I have enjoyed with your parents. I have really enjoyed all of your blog entries, but this one is my favorite. Thanks.

    Gary Waters

    Reply
    1. In-House Counsel Post author

      Thanks Gary. They just love you too- a mutual admiration society. So glad you were able to visit a bit with Dad at the Auburn-Vandy game. Thanks for reading and for your kind words.

      Reply
  5. Heather Hester Sasser

    Amy Godwin shared your blog post and I really enjoyed it. I, too, am the mother of four boys, but mine are quadruplets and seniors in high school. I especially liked the line, “If you want to quickly have an attitude adjustment as a wife, just start considering praying that your son’s wife will treat him like you treat his father.” Thanks for the post. Nice to “see” you after all these years.

    Heather Hester Sasser

    Reply
  6. Rachel Vought

    Molly, I absolutely Love your blog. I was introduced to your blogs by precious Amy Godwin on facebook and have since shared them with my friends. I have one son and two daughters and my son is presently a freshman at Auburn. I love the moment when Andrew watches his grandparents and you both have a sweet moment and you say “that’s what you need to be thinking about”. Thank you for thhese beautiful posts! May God continue to bless you and your family in the new year!

    Reply
    1. In-House Counsel Post author

      You are so nice to write, Rachel. Thank you for sharing my blog posts. I am honored and I hope they will encourage others. My third son John is heading to Auburn next fall. Perhaps our paths will cross on the Plains.

      Reply
  7. Patty Mosley

    Ellen has been telling me about your blog and I finally signed up to follow! Loved seeing this – and since I am getting married in a couple of weeks, definitely great words to take to heart! Much love to y’all and Mr. Dan and Miss Kate!

    Reply
    1. In-House Counsel Post author

      Thanks Patty. Glad to have you following. And all the best wishes for your upcoming wedding and marriage. So good to reconnect after all these years. My third son John is heading to Auburn in the fall, and I hope to see more of old friends. Blessings.

      Reply
  8. Beth Dodd

    As always, a beautiful and thought-provoking post. I, too, am a fearful mom. I’m well aware I pray too often for the safety of my children, at times to the exclusion of almost anything else. Though I recognize the lack of faith in this irrational fear, I can’t quite seem to conquer it. So I love the sweetness of your parent’s marriage but especially appreciate the thought that one day the fear will be replaced with the joy and peace you describe. We should all be so blessed.

    Reply
    1. In-House Counsel Post author

      I do think some people are just more tempted to inordinate fear. My mother was fearful, but faithful even so. And the fact that she has been released from fear and worry is a great blessing and simply a gift from God. I am not usually tempted to fear but lately am finding that at times I awaken in the night and worry about things that I just KNOW will not trouble me in the least in the light of day. It helps me empathize with those who tend to worry more. Thanks for your kind words.

      Reply
  9. Hollie

    So many memories of your parents kaleidoscope in my head, validating this testimony of their loving marriage. One recent recollection was at my son’s engagement party a little over a year ago. There were 4-5 couples sitting around a dining room table and the conversation turned to the subject of “orderly spouses” and “messy spouses.” Although the words were playful, it was easy to imagine the feelings behind these assessments were not always benign.

    After a minute or two of listening to the conversation, your mother said sweetly,”In the first years of your marriage, you think ‘why doesn’t he ever put his coat away?’ But when you’ve been married a long time, you think ‘oh poor thing, he didn’t even have time to put his coat away!'”

    I’m not there yet, but an impression was made.

    Reply
  10. intlxpatr

    This is a beautiful entry. Go ahead and pray for your sons’ wives; we started when our son was seven. We prayed for a woman who served the Lord, who would love our son. Our prayers were answered bountifully. Now, wee have a beautiful, loving, Christ-serving daughter in law, thanks be to God, who is working with our son to raise a Christ-serving little grandson.

    Reply
  11. Amy Murphy Godwin

    Molly, I just wanted to tell you once again how much I adore your blog posts. My daughter Shelton said last night that you should publish these…”she’s really good mom!” was her comment and she shared it on her wall which I think is pretty neat! I cherish the memories with you and your parents. Loved the weekend trips to Montgomery. You parents always made me feel so special and Welcomed! They are a true testimony of a Godly relationship!
    Love you friend!

    Reply
    1. In-House Counsel Post author

      You and Shelton are both much too kind. So very nice to hear from you. My son John is heading to Auburn next year, so Lord willing, our paths are sure to cross more! I hope so.

      Reply
  12. Melissa Crandall

    “Lives in the moment without concern for a dissolving past and an uncertain future.” Thank your mom for me, for this reminder. I’m taking care of my 89 year old mother who had Alzhemier’s and I sometimes get lost in the notion of a dissolving past and uncertain future. But if I do that, I’ll miss what’s going on right here and now. So…thanks.

    Reply
  13. Norma Prater

    All of your essays have been wonderful,
    but this one especially touched my heart.
    It is wonderfully perceptive and so very,
    very true. My life is blessed every day by
    your remarkable parents and the
    extraordinary Christian witness of their
    lives. May God continue to bless all of
    you in the new year.

    Reply
  14. becwillmylife

    Beautiful post, Molly and such a wonderful tribute to your parents. My daughter is newly married and I pray for their young union. I pray also that my son will find a woman who will love him just the way he was created to be by God…not how his dad and I wish him to be or anyone else. Like you said, I want them to experience a marriage of love and respect just like your parents.

    Reply
  15. ClaireD

    What a beautiful post. Your boys will surely marry wonderful girls as they have two marriages for them to look up to and have surely taken note throughout the years. It is always so lovely to read about very loving families – very inspiring. Am new to your blog and am so glad I found you – Happy New Year.

    Reply

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