The Art of Words

Tena and DadThe next two paragraphs were first published in the book 365 Ways to Connect with Your Kids by Charlene Ann Baumbich. They were written by my dad, Rich. What is precious to me about this book in particular is that it is the only time my dad and I shared personal stories which were published in the same book. When I heard about Charlene’s request for parents to write about ways they have connected with their kids, I asked my dad to write about the poems he wrote to each of his girls every Christmas. I am SO glad I did. Here are his words:

“I have always written poetry. I started writing poems about my daughters concerning things I had watched them accomplished, struggle with or create. Sometimes I’d write an inspirational poem about how they shouldn’t let life frustrate them. They were all done in free verse. I usually spent the most time writing them in November to December to put in their stockings on Christmas Eve. It was amazing to watch them run to the stockings and sit and read those poems before even looking for the goodies or small gifts. My wife would let them read them for a day or two then she put them in a binder.

When the oldest daughter got married, my wife gave them to her on her wedding day. I was even amazed to see the volume of poems I had written. It was a fascinating record of her life growing up and what I had observed in that life. My other younger daughters also got to glimpse at their volumes. Their poetry volumes will be given to them at some appropriate time.”

Tena reflection:

Each Christmas morning we would sit at the top of the stairs and get our picture taken together.  Then, we would run downstairs to the lit-up Christmas tree and begin opening gifts.  After all the gifts were open, someone would shout out the word, “STOCKINGS!”, and we would race to the fireplace in the family room to see our Christmas sock hanging from a hook on the mantle.  Inside we would find lots of treats and small treasures.  Immediately, we would take the papers that had been peeking out of the top of our stocking and find a quiet spot to read the words of love written to us by our dad.  Each year my dad faithfully put in our stockings several different poems about us that he had written.  These poems usually summarized what we were involved that year and how Dad felt about us.  They were love letters that we looked forward to reading each Christmas morning.  These poems were Dad’s words of affirmation to us on pieces of paper.  What was once a present peeking out from the top of our stocking is now a priceless gift from our Dad.  We are so thankful for the love our father gave us.  We are grateful not only for the precious memories and pictures we have of our dad, but also for the proof of his devotion found in these poems.  These poems not only fulfilled my personal need of hearing words of encouragement, but they also helped create in me a passion for writing inspiring devotionals.

Tena working at Dad's deskThis is a picture of me at four and a half years old writing at Dad’s desk trying to be just like him.

Father God, thank you for the ways our dads demonstrated love for us. May we love others as you have commanded. Amen.

Share in the comments below one or two ways your dad demonstrated his love for you and your siblings.


9 thoughts on “The Art of Words”

  1. Tena, I loved your story about your dad writing special poems to each of his daughters! It is very heartwarming. A few years after my mom passed away, my dad bought my sister Karen and me heart necklaces with a mustard seed in the very center of the heart. He said he wanted us to have them as a reminder of our mom because her favorite verse in the Bible was, Luke 17:6 And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. “. Dad knew how difficult it was for us when we lost our mom. She was our best friend and confidant.

  2. Great memories that brought tears of joy and sadness at the same time. Your father was beyond awesome. Love Mom

  3. My Dad gave us girls a financial gift a couple of times to bless us while he is living. He is 92 and I look forward to seeing him again tomorrow!

  4. Tena,
    Your dad’s legacy is carried on through you. That is very special.
    I too had a special dad, John.
    He showed his love for his family by always setting a good example.
    We attended church every Sunday as a family and I witnessed the respectful way he treated others.
    My friends would often tell me that I was lucky to have him as a dad, but I know that I was blessed.

  5. How wonderful to have a father give his little girls such precious memories! When I was in high school,there was a time when my dad and I would wake up at 5am and go for an early morning run. It was just the two of us and the peace of a new day. I cherish how special those times made me feel—I was the only girl in his life. My dad also instilled in me a great work ethic that I hope I’ve been able to pass on to my children.

    Tena—you were absolutely adorable! Looks like you were showing a little bit of attitude in the 1st photo. Too funny!

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