I found myself on a beach today. In Croatia. A long way from the small country town into which I entered the world. I was wearing a bikini (at the beach, not when I was born). With ruby toes pointing to the sun.
It made me ponder all that I was taught. About ladies, and what they should look like. By my wonderful Dad.
There was a lengthy list. Don't drink from a bottle (I did that today too). Don't kick a footy. Make sure the door is opened for you. Don't ever wear a bikini. And toes are the only things allowed to be nude. Must be nude.
When did I buy my first bikini? I know I was an adult, and remember being excited like a little girl, but can't recall if I felt a little disobedient too? The toenails. Now always coloured. When did that start? My Dad continues to play the game of being horrified if ever he sees a hue at the end of my fingers or toes. A footy has certainly made its ways to those toes. What sort of mother would I be to my four sons otherwise?
But what else have I rejected? Decided his values were no longer mine. The notion that I must "look after number one". Definitely that. Also all of his politics. Makes for fun family conversations. The disinterest in God? That one has been nullified.
Which naturally leads me to wonder about my boys. Thrashing about in the ocean as I pondered. What am I teaching them today, that will be rejected later? Different for each boy, yes. But their lists will be long, I'm sure.
I tried to make a mental list of exactly what it is we are trying to impart to our future men:
It's not about you, it's about God.
Put others first.
Understand there is always a story. Don't judge.
Love. Always love.
Then there are the other things:
Eat with your mouth closed.
Put the seat down.
Tattoos are forever.
I realised there was a long list of things my Dad taught me which I have embraced too. Work hard at your marriage. Work first, play later. Never give up. Always do your best.
What will be embraced and discarded by my boys? Which values, in twenty years or so, will they realise are no longer important? Not to them?
I'm hoping it's about the seat. I could be okay with them leaving it up. I could live with a tattoo too.
But their faith? Their compassion? The putting others first?
Really hoping they get all of that right.
- My Dad. And the lessons taught.
- All that I have learnt since.
- Opportunity to teach four future men.
- Trusting God with the men they will become.
- The privilege of travel.
- Sunshine. With the added bonus of no pollution.
- Brothers building memories together. Though they don't necessarily know it.
- Always being the foreigner.
- Relaxing with my groom, no text books in sight.