Memories. Some stick, others fade. Many stand out on this day even though some had faded; however, I read personal journal entries that triggered an avalanche of memories that warm the heart. It is imperative to steward the meaningful memories that we have accumulated over a lifetime so that we can celebrate the goodness of God on key dates.
Eleven years ago today on December 12, 2009 was a special, special day. There was a squeal, a swaying, and a surprise on that day that I will never forget.
Those delightful squeals of a child breathe life into the heartbeat of this father. The squeal came as a result of a fight between Aneta and I.
Yes, you read that correctly. A fight.
Though the fight was simply an all-out dodgeball battle between mommy and daddy. It started when Aneta stunned me with a Bob the Tomato stuffed animal that hit me dead smack in the face. I must add that I did nothing to deserve this unprovoked provocation. Though I give credit to where credit is due: it was an impressive on the mark throw. She got me good.
And the squeal followed. One could say, it was the squeal heard around the world.
Simone caught in the middle of a dodge ball battle shrieked with laughter and glee. Of course we were harmlessly throwing balls back and forth. But it soon morphed into dodging pillows and additional stuffed animals as well. Basically it was anything soft we could get on hands onto to throw at one another without injuring anyone. The more, the merrier. It was a moment of bliss.
The sound of my daughter’s squeal filled my heart with such fatherly pleasure and affections.
I’m proud to say, though Aneta did start the battle, I certainly finished the battle. I think there was some tickling involved to ensure full compliance of surrender of the guilty party. I won, fair and square. But most importantly I won that moment simply because my ears could hear the squeals of delight out of the mouth of my precious daughter. And her smile made my heart melt. That was worth it all.
Now about the swaying. That involved another memory from that day that also elicited a smile.
Per our tradition, Aneta and I were praying with Simone right before bedtime. I have always prayed for Simone daily since she was in the womb. It was always a gratified moment praying with Simone during those early years. On this particular night, with closed eyes, she rhythmically swayed her head back and forth—then, she slightly tilted her head to take a peek at Mommy. Of course, Aneta was watching Simone with a big smile on her face, while trying not to laugh, since we were praying together as a family. Simone then returned a smile of her own to Aneta.
It was an absolute precious moment. A memory forever etched upon my heart.
But December 12, 2009 also has another memorable moment with another person. That evening, Aneta and I went on a date night to Bonefish. My parents agreed to watch their granddaughter for a few hours so we could enjoy time together alone.
As we sat in the booth at the restaurant, Aneta slid a card across the table towards me. With a twinkle in her eyes, she told me to open it. As I gently pulled the card out, I expected it to be a card celebrating what God had done in our marriage. This was an annual date that we took to celebrate the goodness of God in our marriage since it was six years earlier on December 13 that Aneta was determined to leave me due to sin that had ravaged my life. But God intervened. Once we made it through that difficult ordeal, we made a conscious, intentional effort to celebrate annually what the enemy intended for destruction, God used for good through the finished work of the Cross.
But I was not expecting to read what was written.
As my eyes skimmed once again the words penned, I glanced up into her eyes, stammering, “Y-y-y…you are pregnant?” She nodded affirmatively with her stunning trademark smile as joy filled my heart. I wasn’t expecting what she had written inside the card: You are going to be a daddy again! It was a sweet surprise that I will forever cherish. Needless to say, both of us were smiling. It was certainly one of the most special moments of my life.
Memories. Such memories of squeals, sways, and surprises are those that leave me with a smile that will last a lifetime. What memories that the Father has granted you that you need to pull out of the vault in order to celebrate His goodness? Learning to reflect on His goodness within such memories will ensure that a smile never leaves your heart even in the midst of difficult moments.