Some of my fondest memories of my childhood are of the times when Dad and I stayed up talking all through the night about “life”, family and him fighting as a Marine machine gunner in Korea. He was 23 years old when he was drafted in 1950–having to leave my mom with a just-turned 2 year old little girl named Kathie and another baby (my brother Norm) due to be born in December.
I loved our through-the-night-chats because I learned so much about my dad:
He talked about growing up on a farm during the Depression in California; seeing impoverished-looking people move into the state looking for work.
- Dad talked about how special it was the night I was born–the only girl in the nursery with five baby boys. Dad insisted that the other fathers were “jealous” that he got the only girl!
- He also talked about fighting in Korea: about how poor the people were who were running for their lives and about many of the young men he served with who, “Didn’t make it home.”
It was during one of those all night chats that Dad spoke about the future decisions I would face as an adult. One conversation that remained vivid in my mind took place when I was about 11: “Kathie, there will come a time when you will tell me you are in love and want to get married. At that time I will tell you whether I approve or not. If I don’t approve I will tell you only once. If you decide to go ahead and marry anyway, the choice will ultimately be on you. Just remember that you will have to live with the consequences of making that decision for the rest of your life.”
That conversation stayed with me for years. It influenced who I dated, especially who I brought home. When Marshall and I met the attraction was almost instantaneous. When we wanted to get married, we announced our decision rather than asking for permission. Both our families seemed to approve and we started making plans for our wedding.
It was on the night before our wedding that things came full circle. Dad and I had finished work at our family business and were headed over to Marshall’s parents home where the Rehearsal Dinner was going to occur. (The idea was that we would meet at their place, go to the church together for the wedding rehearsal and, when finished, the entire wedding party would go back to enjoy the dinner Marshall’s mother had prepared.) It was after Dad turned onto Marshall’s parents driveway that he suddenly slammed on the brakes and looked over at me. Because it was in mid-November it was dark, so I couldn’t see him very well. Yet the gentleness of his words washed over me powerfully as he said, “Kathie, your mother and I are very proud of you and of Marshall. You definitely have made the right choice.”
In that moment, the 11 year old girl in me, who so wanted to please her daddy, suddenly felt whole. It was if a soothing balm suddenly made how I saw my future even brighter. I remember little of the rehearsal or the dinner, but I absolutely do remember standing in the beautiful old stone building while holding onto Dad’s strong arm–knowing I had his approval. I also remember entering the candlelit sanctuary with Dad, and the wonder of seeing the smiling faces of so many family and friends who came to witness Marshall and I say our vows. Most of all I remember the joy of seeing Marshall waiting for me to begin our own new circle.
Fifty years later, having raised three amazing children and continuing to enjoy our 7 grandchildren, I feel as if we have in many ways come full circle. As we celebrate, we do so with gratitude to God for His faithfulness in keeping us together, soothing the rough places with His Presence and making us whole. After sharing five decades of life, the wisdom of Solomon has become increasingly precious to us:
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
Do you have a “full circle” story you can share? I would love to hear it in the comments below . . .❤️
All to His Glory!