A Letter to Emmeline

I know, I know. Too many posts at once just means they won’t get read.  Thankfully, most of my posts only get read by close family and friends anyway, and they can deal.


Dear Emmeline,

It is astonishing to me that you just turned four about two months ago.  This is astonishing because I was sure that when I went to sleep last night your Mommy and I had just brought you home from the hospital and were worried about bilirubin counts and feedings.  Now we are worried about reading and letters, and what you should be learning, and when this stage passes we will find something else to worry about.

I was talking to a lady at work today.  A very kind and godly young lady at my work and she was talking about how very difficult it was to find godly men to date.  Thankfully, you will never have to worry about dating because you are going to live at home forever and never leave your poor father.  But in case you should ever need to advise a friend, I wanted to disclose to you the type of man I would walk you down the aisle for.  This is a purely intellectual and hypothetical exercise.

First of all, he should be respectful.  I don’t mean in the “I’m your father and he WILL respect me” kind of way.  I mean he should have a general demeanor of respect.  One that communicates to others that he is willing and able to engage them, listen to them, and respect their opinions even if he does not agree with them.  I note this one first because it is one of the least likely in a young man and will cut down considerably on wasted time.

Second, a brief list of things that I am indifferent to: Good looks, success in business, money, a nice car/house/whatever, his GPA, the impressiveness of his career or degrees, who he knows, where he has travelled to, how romantic he is, what vehicle he drives, etc.  (This means I am free to add to the list).  Some of these things may be important to you, but none of them tell me what I need to know.  A man can have all of these and still be a first class jerk.  Or he can have none of these and be the greatest guy I’ll ever meet. 

Thirdly, he needs to be a man’s man.  I don’t mean he has to be a hunter, or some sort of macho man–though I wouldn’t mind having another hunter or fisherman in the family–he doesn’t HAVE to be able to survive on his own in the wild for weeks at a time.  He has to be able to think clearly, make decisions, and defend those decisions. He has to be willing to tell me–yes ME, his future father-in-law–when I am wrong.  Don’t think I wouldn’t test his ability to do this.  Any man who isn’t willing to speak the truth simply isn’t a man.  This may be the most important point.  The truth must always supercede comfort.  I won’t always like it, but if he sticks by his beliefs I will at least respect him.

Fourthly, and lastly for this letter (I don’t want to waste everyone else’s time on the other 382 rules for this hypothetical man), he must understand what love is.  Hopefully you have learned from your Mommy and me that love is not always, or even mostly, love songs and roses.  It is much more often working two jobs to pay the bills, or cleaning up vomit in the middle of the night, or fixing the plumbing, or doing the dishes.  I hope that this man is a romantic man, much more so than I am, but I want him to understand that loving you will be hard.  Not because you are particularly difficult to love, but because love is particularly hard.

Someone may wonder why I have not mentioned the need for said hypothetical man to be a believer.  This is not because it isn’t important, but because it is my hope that you could figure out that much on your own…even at four you’re no idiot.

I will love you always, but I know, deep down, that someday someone will love you more than I do.  And on that day I will give you over to his love the same way I have given you over to the love of God, who already loves you and me both more than we could ever imagine.

Your loving Dad


One thought on “A Letter to Emmeline

  1. What a great Daddy you are! I have loved having children with you. And sometimes Emmeline is particularly difficult to love because Emmeline is particularly like her father, and she’s very very very stubborn. Not that you or she would ever admit to that. 🙂

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