But as TJ grew into his teens, something started to change. Maybe it was the fact that Dad coached football and TJ played football. Or maybe it was just that males tend to feel competitive toward one another, without even really trying. The tension between them was pretty low-key, but it showed up when they butted heads or in their lack of appreciation for one another. Yet at the same time, TJ and I had heartfelt talks and infrequent conflicts. (Cristi and I were the same way when she was in high school; she gravitated towards Dad, and conflicts with me happened often.)
I figured as TJ matured, the differences would dissolve. Even so, I was taken back by TJ’s words last week in another Facebook chat (after 3 months away at college).
“Mom, remember how Dad and I always butted heads? Well, I’ve recently come to a realization that he is a wonderful dad and that I am LUCKY to have a father like him and how much I really love him. It was pretty amazing for me to realize this and I want him to know that I love him very much.”
Words to make a mother smile. And words to make Dad cry. Tj wanted me to relay the message to Ted, and later he texted his dad before Ted went on the field to coach a football game, “Dad, I want you to know how much I love you. I’m so thankful for you.” So much for that mean game face Ted was wearing.
I could say, “I told you so, I knew things would get better.” But I think I’ll just count the days until Christmas when I get to see a new relationship blossom between father and son. That’s all I want for Christmas, that and my two college kids home.
You know what I love about God? When we are in the middle of the wilderness, He drops the sweetest unexpected blessings in our lap to remind us that we are not forgotten.