If I could have one Christmas wish, it would be that I could go back in my life to before our children were born and establish a foundation for being a better parent. My pursuit of ministry success caused me to neglect my children, especially the two oldest. I am guilty of having put the church before family for many, many years. It is my greatest regret in life.
Since I cannot redo the past, I must make do with the present. Over 2500 miles separate me from my oldest daughter, her husband, and my only grandchild. I missed too many years of her life when she was growing up. She is very successful in her career and I am proud of her and my son-in-law. Now, when I am more in tune with what is important, I cannot be there for them. I ache every time we skype. I miss seeing my grandson grow up and being there to help my daughter with him. I don't like the fact that I am not going to see him open the train set we sent him for Christmas. In spite of the miles, I treasure them dearly. I only wish we were closer.
I am thrilled that my son and I have been able to find healing in our relationship. I am grateful that he lives so close and that he will be home for Christmas. But beyond that, I am pleased to say that he is my friend and that I really enjoy spending time with him. I always look forward to seeing his truck roll into the driveway. It means that we can spend a few hours together. I'm proud of how he has carved out a life for himself. He has a good career and is very gifted at what he does. With all that he has going on, he still makes time for his parents. I am blessed.
My youngest daughter has benefited from my wake-up call the most. She is still in high school, and I make it a point to be as involved in her life as she will allow me to be. We've done soccer and softball together for many years. She is now involved in volleyball and is having great success. She is an excellent student. But more than anything, I love her tender heart. She has become a sweet young lady. I'm probably too much of a meddling parent and overly protective for her liking. I'm just trying to be a better dad.
My wish for this Christmas is to always strive to be a better dad. With God's help, it is possible.