Jun 20

To My Father

With a newborn Bethany

With a newborn Bethany

Dear Dad,

For 33 years I have watched you, and you have taught me.

As an infant, though I do not remember, you taught me: Safety. Love. Security. When I later learned that God is our Father, I understood and embraced His love, because your example had prepared my heart.

As a child, you taught me: Swimming. Riding a bike. How not to wear shorts when working with wet cement.  (And, oh my goodness, how to hold a pencil correctly.)


Granddaddy and Sarah

Granddaddy and Sarah


As a teen, you taught me: A good work ethic. Keeping my commitments. The value of an education. The importance of saying you’re sorry. And when I messed up–every time I messed up–you taught me grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation.


As a college student, I watched you care for your mother, my beloved Grandmother, when she came to live with us as her dementia progressed. I learned a lifetime in those few years she was with us. When she needed to move in with us, and we didn’t have an extra room, I learned sacrifice.  Daily, hourly, I learned patience. When Grandmother picked out a can of beer from the refrigerator one morning, and you humored her, I learned it was OK to choose your battles. Most of all, I learned that love is action. That love finds a way to care for the family, even when it is unexpected, inconvenient, or unpleasant. And when Grandmother could no longer live with us, I learned that there is a time when love has to let go.


Real men wear bows in their hair sometimes.

Real men wear bows in their hair sometimes.


As an adult now, and parent myself, I am still learning from you. You are teaching me the importance of enjoying my children. I watch you when you come to visit us now–as soon as you are in the door, you’re on the floor with the kids, putting together a puzzle or playing with dolls. The message you are telling me, unspoken, is this: “They grow up. Whether you believe it will happen or not…they will. Then they will be gone. Leave the suitcases in the car for a minute. Leave the dinner on the table. If it’s cold, it can be reheated. Play with them.”


I love you, Dad. Today and every day, I am thankful you are here, in my life and in the lives of my children.


And they sometimes use parasols, too.

And they sometimes use parasols, too.

About the author


I am a 30-something mother of 5 girls: Naomi, 10; Rachel, 7; Sarah Joy, 4; Joanna, 2; and Bethany Promise, born Sept. 9, 2014. My husband is a bivocational pastor of Living Hope Community Church in rural Colorado. I love being with my girls, playdates, Settlers of Catan, Rook, Inductive Bible Studies, and reading. Prior to moving to CO in 2010, I lived in Alabama my entire life, and I love Southern culture, literature, food, and Alabama football!

1 comment

  1. Katy

    What a beautiful tribute to your father, Audra! You have had an amazing example to learn from.

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