Children at Longwood | Photos
On Saturday afternoon D and I helped celebrate family birthdays–four of them, within the space of one week! Our son (his big 50), twin granddaughters (18 years old, seniors in high school), and daughter-in-law (I’m not telling). Only their young son gets his own special day later this fall (15 years old).
All this family stuff got me a bit nostalgic. Hence these Longwood Garden photos taken in late April 2006. As I recall, this was our granddaughters’ first visit to Longwood. These were also the golden years when I was Queen Elouise and carried a sun parasol to mark my exalted status.
Looking at these photos reminds me of the tough work our son and daughter-in-law did to honor their children’s gifts and personalities. It’s never easy.
Yesterday I heard this on the radio: Having children doesn’t make a man a father. The statement clicked with me instantly. To it, I would add this: Being a ‘father’ or ‘mother’ of the church (as in padre, nun, priest, bishop, archbishop, pastor, youth minister) doesn’t confer or guarantee the ability to relate honorably to children or young people.
In the news last week: the Pennsylvania report about child abuse at the hands of Roman Catholic priests and their superiors. All of it covered up by people and a system that took care of its own. Plus, a few days later, reports about the Pope’s visit to Ireland and the legacy with which that nation’s population lives–as do many others.
I only wish it were possible to track similar behavior in Protestant churches here and elsewhere.
All this and more brought back my relationship with my father. He was an ordained Protestant clergyman, sporadically under the loose oversight of a governing body. I have more work to do.
For today, I commend men and women who work hard at parenting and foster-parenting. Especially when they don’t have many models or cheer leaders when things get more than a bit crazy.
©Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 August 2018
Photos taken by DAFraser at Longwood Gardens, April 2006