They Tuck you Up...

Philip Larkin's famously misanthropic "This be the Verse" will probably not be quoted much in Fathers' Day Services tomorrow... Although there is a certain truth in it, and whether mothers or fathers do more of the ****ing up in general is debatable. However, I discovered a few weeks ago, thanks to Maggi Dawn, this more positive riposte to Larkin...
They tuck you up, your mum and dad
They read you Peter Rabbit, too.
They give you all the treats they had
And add some extra, just for you.

They were tucked up when they were small,
(Pink perfume, blue tobacco-smoke),
By those whose kiss healed any fall,
Whose laughter doubled any joke.

Man hands on happiness to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
So love your parents all you can
And have some cheerful kids yourself.
Adrian Mitchell

To be honest, I can never remember being tucked up, or tucked in, by my own Dad. He wasn't that kind of man, or from that kind of social background. But I do hope that my own kids will have positive memories of being tucked up by me, no matter how I may have ****ed them up in other ways.

But let me finish with a story told by Jeff Lucas. I don't know where I came across this, perhaps someone else can supply the reference. But Jeff had received a phone call to tell him his Dad was dying. He rushed to the airport and got the next plane, and was soon at his Dad's bedside in the hospital. His Dad was conscious, and as he held his hand and smoothed his hair he smiled, but said nothing. His Dad hadn't been able to speak for four years since a major stroke. Jeff knew that time was short, and he said: "Dad, I love you so very much. You know that don't you?" His Dad smiled, but then his eyes clouded over. He was struggling to say something but he couldn't. But for Jeff, everything had been said some months before, without a word being exchanged.
Jeff had been staying overnight at his parents' house whilst on a speaking tour, and he was staying in his old room. He was tired after a long day and went to bed early, when there was a gentle knock on the door. His Dad came in and knelt down silently by the bed. He took the blankets and sheets and tucked Jeff in, just as he had 35 years before. He kissed his cheek, brushed a stray hair from his forehead, and left. Jeff lay there in the dark aware that he, a 40 year old adult had just been tucked in and made feel warm and secure by his frail old father. And it felt good...

Whatever your relationship with your earthly father, may you know the love of your heavenly Father (who is described as being a father even to the fatherless)... not just for one day in the year, but today, tomorrow, and every day...

ps. imonk just posted some interesting questions/challenges for parents of teenaged children. Worth a look.



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