Getting Around the Front Door

An Assist from a Two-Year-Old
This past weekend I had the pleasure of meeting my widowed father’s new lady friend. Dad brought her along for an informal barbeque we had planned on Sunday with my daughter, her boyfriend, and our younger grandson Cadence.

I had been looking forward to the occasion. I didn’t want my dad to be lonely; his willingness to seek new companionship signalled to me how much he had valued the 53 years of marriage that he and Mom had shared. But there loomed in my mind the problem of the front door.

My own front door had been the locus of my hardest moments after my mother died. My parents lived 600 miles away at the time of Mom’s death. The distance made it easy to not focus on her absence once she passed. But after Dad returned to Southern California a few months later, I was faced with the greeting him–but not Mom–when he came to our home. Opening that door to see him standing there without my mother by his side drove home to me the reality of her death. And it hurt.

While I had thoroughly searched my heart and was comfortable that my support for Dad’s dating was genuine, I was dreading Sunday’s first meeting at the front door. I feared that the sight of him standing there with another woman would emphasize on a whole new level that Mom was gone. I didn’t want to greet his new friend with a flood of tears. I was afraid for my own composure at an important moment.

On Sunday, Cadence had spent the afternoon here with Rich and me. His mom and her friend were returning to collect him and join us for dinner. I’d invited Dad and Sue to join us too.

While there’s nothing quite like a two-year-old child to keep one from dwelling on things, that moment at the front door loomed in my mind. I so wanted to welcome Dad and Sue warmly–if I was in tears, that would be tough.

As the time for everyone’s arrival approached, I busied myself preparing dinner. I shucked corn, then gathered the husks into a bag. Intending to take them to our trash can, I asked Cadence if he would like to walk with me to the edge of our property to dispose of them. A true little outdoorsman, he eagerly joined me.

Once we’d disposed of the corn husks, he said, “Lala, can we go see the train?” One of our neighbors has an impressive model train layout in his front yard; our grandsons love it. So Cadence and I trooped up the hill to look at the train.

I was standing there in my apron, holding my grandson’s hand, when my dad and his friend drove down the hill. Dad stopped and we greeted each other, then they continued on to our home. Cadence and I returned on foot behind them.

The moment at the front door never came.

4 Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to
follow. 5 Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the
God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.
Psalm 25:4-5 (NLT)