Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pep Talk: "The Wonder That Is Them"

“The kids were absolutely awesome.”

Never has there been a more truthful statement muttered. They came from a beloved, and now official, brother-in-law describing wedding toasts delivered by two amazing human beings. They happen to be the son and daughter of this simple dude from Missouri.

An almost 25-year-old young man and an almost 18-year-old young woman held court in captivating fashion. The scene was the wedding to the woman of your scribe’s dreams that unfolded in a beautifully decorated ballroom in downtown Denver. It was a magical moment from start to finish. But Kyle and Rachel just flat knocked it out of the park.

Parenting is an interesting journey, ain’t it? That was one of many emotions being  absorbed while standing among the gathered throng and listening to the warm, honest and incredibly entertaining words flow from the lips and hearts of children who have weathered plenty.

Their father’s marriages to each of their mothers had ended in disappointment and divorce. Painful. But those setbacks create space for an equally awesome woman to walk into their old man’s life - the beautiful, fun, smart and big-hearted Kathy Gans. Over a period of more than a decade, a dynamo who advanced from sexy girl friend, to darling fiancee to, what a lucky guy am I, sexy darling wife.

When it came to the toasts, Kyle was the leadoff hitter. Given his background and talents - on the comedic writing team for NBC’s Late Night With Seth Myers - it was not too surprising to observe his oration comfort and skill. It can be a blessing and a curse, but the handsome dude, like his old man, never met a microphone he didn’t like.

His younger sister? Holy cow. I never knew.

Anybody else out there have a teenage daughter? One on the cusp of taking flight and heading off to college in the near future? Communicating with parents, especially their dads, is far down the list of priorities. Perhaps just above, maybe, making their beds.

Words are limited. Scarce. Responses to inquisitive statements like, “How’s life?” met with a shrug of shoulders and, if lucky, a softly-spoken, “Fine.”

Admittedly, it’s been a struggle for me. Curious by nature, I like to know the news in my daughter’s life. Son’s life too. But each is at an age where inquiries about “What’s going on?” are most times unwelcome. At least, from my perspective. The men who gather each Friday morning in an office building and challenge one another to grow stronger spiritually know too well. So often, in response to my bemoaning, these knuckleheads cajole and challenge me to keep showing up in a loving fashion and get over myself and believe, “This too shall pass.”

Holding notes but rarely looking at them the volleyball setter extraordinaire captivated the audience. Remarks about the role new stepmother has played in mentoring drew roars of approval from the crowd. So did many other comments too. On a night designed to officially stamp the love mutually shared and cherished between two middle-aged people, it was the next generation that shined so brightly.

Quite a  proud moment for their pop. A moment that will forever be cherished.

Just this simple dude from Missouri’s opinion, but, first and foremost, wishes are for our children to be healthy. Right behind that constant prayer is one that they will embrace a passion to, as Thoreau wisely stated long ago, “Advance confidently in the direction of their dreams and live the life they imagine.”

Like all of us, life will throw curveballs at them. My two kids didn’t deserve to have their worlds rocked by parents divorcing in their early years. The hassle of living under two roofs. The uncertainty of their futures as parents moved on to new relationships with others.

Those of us who created them have not made it easy. However, as Rachel joked toward the end of her remarks, “Dad has a way of turning everything into a life lesson.”

Guilty as charged.

Kids grow up so fast. Before you know it, poof, they’re moving on to new frontiers. This much I know, from what was observed in listening to son and daughter share intimate thoughts with confidence and pizzaz, their future is limitless.

When the sun sets on each and every day, about the only thing we control, when it comes to the creatures we create, is our willingness to get the heck out of their way and allow the wonder that is them to blossom.

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