Dad has been joyfully running around heaven for almost 20 years now, quite likely spinning hilarious tales and grinning like a possum, just like he did on earth.
When he was running around down here, Dad was a real study in contrasts. He could rattle your teeth with some of his clothing ensembles but select a gift for my mom that would take your breath away. Dad just slap-dab loved Mom to pieces, and his gifts reflected that love. With six kids to feed, he rarely had two nickels to rub together. But one year for their anniversary, he gave Mom a few pieces of exquisite china he most likely found in a dusty but delightful antique store. The pattern was unique: delicate tea leaves framed by a rich teal band trimmed in gold. The china’s cups, elegantly curved and ever so feminine, most likely reminded my dad of the woman he loved so much. As a little girl I would gaze with awe at those exquisite cups, not daring to touch. Even then I knew they represented far more than beautiful china that could hold liquid; they represented a big heart overflowing with love.
A few years ago, to my heart’s delight, my mom gave me one of the cups to “Daddy’s China.” Showing it to my husband, Billy, I told him the story behind it and expressed how I would love to find more pieces of the set.
Now Billy is a real guy’s guy; china is not his thing. But for months he traipsed along with me as I combed every antique store in Tennessee and beyond, searching for pieces of “Daddy’s China,” always hopeful but always leaving empty-handed.
In many ways, Billy reminds me of Dad. He can spin a hilarious tale and grin like a possum, too. Gift-givingis also his love language. On my 46th birthday, Billy served me breakfast in bed. In he walked, grinning like a possum while balancing a covered breakfast tray. After a hilarious version of the “Happy Birthday” song, he removed the soft cloth that covered the tray. There was my breakfast, lovingly showcased on a place setting of “Daddy’s China.” I burst into tears — not quite the reaction Billy was expecting! As tears splattered my eggs and bacon, I could almost hear Daddy chuckling and telling Billy, “Atta boy, son! Those are ‘you done good’ tears!”
Finding a place setting of “Daddy’s China” was no small feat for Billy. But just like my dad, this husband of mine searches long and hard for gifts that represent his big heart, which is — to my amazement and utter delight — overflowing with love for woefully imperfect me. Billy’s big-hearted love has me sharing sweet tales and grinning like a possum.
Daddy would be proud.