August 8th will mark my parents’ 46th wedding anniversary. I wrote the following story to commemorate the date for them a few years ago… it was my way of thanking them for loving me and my five siblings so well, and for showing us through their love for each other what it meant to be loved ourselves.
I have been wanting to share it with you here on (in)courage, and since the sudden and unexpected death of my dad a few weeks ago, now seemed like the perfect time to both share it with you and honor him. Just as this was written as a thank you to them, I also want it to be my opportunity to say thank you to all of you.
This is one of those moments when Thank You doesn’t seem to hold enough weight for what I need it to represent. Because I’m homebound, I wasn’t able to be with my family and celebrate my dad’s life after he died, but the community here surrounded me, loved me and supported me right where I was. This past week I received a basket full of cards that felt like a hug sent over a million miles. You’ll never know how much that has meant to me. I told Holley that it seems as if God hand delivered you all to me a few months ago to remind me He always provides, even when He takes away. Thank you for embracing me here, and for letting me share a little piece of my dad with all of you.
The kitchen, as in most homes, has always been the gathering place for my family. Some credit it to the smells of food wafting through the air, beckoning anyone and everyone to come and fulfill the curiosity their stomachs have forced upon them.
Others say the kitchen is essential to a family because it’s where the most time is spent preparing to formally sit and enjoy one another. Why wait to sit at the dining room table when you can sit on the kitchen counter, sneak samples of the cuisine, talk until everyone is trying to be just a shade louder than the other, and be consistently on whichever counter Mom needs to be clear at the moment? This inevitably forces her comment, “We do have other rooms in the house, you know!”
But, of course, we all know deep down the commotion would be missed, and it is sometimes said with an edge of pride that her family has grown up and the grandchildren are now carrying on the tradition. While all these are compelling reasons to hold the kitchen as the room of high esteem, none come close to competing with my mind’s eye of my childhood in that old farm kitchen.
The hustle and chaos were ever present. My sisters and I would chide my brothers – who were never required to cook or do dishes – that if they stayed in the kitchen they would undoubtedly turn into girls. No matter what the commotion, regardless if the television was blaring or if the radio was silent, my dad would come up behind my mom – standing at the sink or stove or counter – and they danced.
They danced. Dad would hum a tune or click out a beat and they would dance as though six children weren’t running and talking and creating an atmosphere of Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday.
They were experts in tuning out the world, until I came around. Until Dad felt that tug on his leg. Until Mom gave Dad the knowing grin and I was scooped up between them. Dad would have just showered and the smell of his aftershave would wash over our small little circle of three. Mom would wink at me and we would begin the dance, the twirls, the spins.
We would begin what I felt, but was too small to articulate, was my own little world.
The dance would eventually end. The potatoes would boil on the stove or the phone would ring, and the universe would put my other little world on pause. But it was never on pause in my mind. Even today, when life seems overwhelming or uncertain, and that sense of security feels just beyond my reach, I can close my eyes and smell the smells of my youth. I see that old kitchen and my young parents, and I rest comfortably in the knowledge that at home in the new kitchen, my older parents are still dancing.
So if you ever wonder how to give your child security, how to teach them the presence of love, how to show them to live in the here and now – show them you love each other.
Show your child you will forever love them by forever loving one another.
Turn to your partner in the midst of chaos, in the midst of fear, in the midst of uncertainty, in the midst of love – and dance.Leave a Comment
Sara, what compelling words….You are such an inspiration to live better, be better and do better by each other. I love you sweet friend….this was an amazing tribute to your parents and an inspiration to all parents out there….
Thank you for sharing…that was beautiful.
What a beautiful post! Thank YOU for sharing with us.
Robynn's Ravings says
So glad to see you featured here, Sara. The more people that know of you the more people that will be blessed by your words and your beautiful spirit. This post was incredible and challenged me, as a mom, to do a better job at being a couple. Sometimes we moms get so wrapped up in BEING moms that we forget how it all happened.
I know your loss is still so raw and I’m praying for God’s comfort for you. I didn’t know about the card idea but think it’s wonderful and love everyone who took part.
Southern Gal says
That’s a beautiful tribute to your parents. Praying for your whole family.
Alison Connell says
Just simply beautiful, Sara. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us xx
Dawn Camp says
I am so sorry about your dad. My mom passed away 6 years ago, and I know how difficult it can be to lose a parent.
This is a beautiful story. You gave me one of those ugly cries where it’s running out of your eyes and nose and everywhere. Thanks for sharing.
I feel so lucky and honored to remember reading this before and know it was one of the first times I recall thinking, “she’s a writer…” This piece will remain one of my favorites… for or so many reasons…
This is such a precious thing to share. Love those memories. I just shred about my grandparents passing away (2 years ago). They were married for almost 63 years. My Grandpa died first, and then my grandma, not even a month later (she was in excellent health, but her heart was not without him) What a sweet heritage you have to share with your family.
Holley Gerth says
I read these words, “The dance would eventually end…But it was never on pause in my mind.” And I think of your dad slipping home to Jesus and how the dance never really ends. Shedding some tears with you this morning, praying God continues to comfort you, asking Him to dance with your heart until you dance in the arms of your daddy again. We love you, sweet Sara, so much and we’re so grateful to be part of all of your journey–the happy and hard.
While reading this, I started to get teary eyed. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful moment, and I am so sorry about your loss.
I too remember my parents slow-dancing in the kitchen as dinner cooked. My sister and I would sometimes squish between them and we would all laugh. Thank you, Sara, for sharing this beautiful memory.
Praying that you and your family would continue to know God’s love and comfort.
WHAT A LOVELY TRIBUTE TO YOUR PARENTS, ESPECIALLY YOUR DAD. SO SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS HON, KNOW IT MUST BE REALLY HARD WITH A DAD LIKE HIM.
I BELIEVE YOU ARE SO RIGHT ABOUT THE SECURITY IT GIVES CHILDREN TO HAVE PARENTS WHO REALLY LOVE EACH OTHER. MY PARENTS DIVORCED WHEN I WAS 3 YRS. OLD AND SECURITY WAS A BIG ISSUE FOR ME.
I AM HAPPY TO REPORT MY CHILDREN HAVE HAPPILY MARRIED PARENTS FOR ALMOST 40 YRS. NOW, THAT STILL LOVE EACH OTHER. WE AREN’T ENDURING WE ARE ENJOYING OUR MARRIAGE.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING THAT SWEET TRIBUTE, IT WAS A BLESSING TO READ ESPECIALLY IN THIS DAY AND AGE.
HOPE YOU HAVE A GOOD DAY HON,
Mary Joy @Seeds of Encouragement Sewn with Grace says
My prayers are with you Sarah. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful heart with us. Your story touched my heart…my husband does the same thing with me! I love it when he pulls me into his arms to dance with me…and our 2 yr old pulls at my leg to get into a baby sandwich dance. 🙂 Precious memories…may God bless you today!
Beautiful and inspiring. Thank you.
Oh but that is so beautiful. And will stay on my mind and heart for a long long time. Brought tears to my eyes. I want that for my daughter. I want it so badly. And I love that it’s in my power to give her, I just had not thought of it that way before. So thank you. A million times thank you, to you and your parents. My daughter will thank you one day too.
Show your child you will forever love them by forever loving one another. WE are coming up on our 53rd anniversary in Nov. and we try to do this….exactly what you said! Example is the best teacher! This was a BEAUTIFUL post! XO, Pinky
Ohhhh precious . . . reminds me as a mom to make these memories with my children. Thank you for sharing & may God give you the peace that passes ALL understanding as we dance through this life to eternity.
I too have have lost loved ones ,and i’ll never forget”the gathering place the big kitchen on the farm” for some reason the kitchen was the place to be. How i miss those precious moments .I know that my loved ones have gone to be with the Lord.I miss my mom so much ,she was my insperation.
Ann Voskamp@Holy Experience says
Your words make us dance, Sara…
And you honor your dad with such beautiful, lyrical grace.
Mary Friday says
So inspiring. Thanks for sharing this beautiful story about your parents. They were wonderful parents.
deb @ talk at the table says
so sorry for your loss,
thank you for sharing this,
my husband and I dance,
I hope we do it enough that our children will know this love you write of so well.
What a beautiful testament to your parents love and your Dad’s life.
I always feel sad for couples who seem to only have their children in common, it’s like they’ve forgotten about loving each other. Thank-you for this reminder of how important it is.
I could see the chaos and dancing in my mind! Family feels good! And you remind me….to be “IN” every moment that God gives me with my husband and kids.
Still praying for you friend. He sounds like a great dad!
That is beautiful and such a treasured memory! So sorry for the loss of your dad. I’m so thankful we were here to do what we could to encourage you during this time!
And they danced….just lovely! Warm hugs to you, Sara.
Lauren Kelly says
This was just beyond beautiful!!!!! You truly are an inspiration and so is your Dad! That picture is gorgeous! Your Dad was a good man, and I don’t even have to have known him to know that, the picture says it all, and of course, the dance!!
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you write so well, My prayers are with you 🙂