Pickin’ & Grinnin’

There’s an old joke that goes something like, “You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your family.” Or maybe I made that middle part up. Anyway, the point is supposed to be that you don’t really have a choice about who your family is.

But that’s not always true.

Thirty years ago, I looked around in our church’s vestibule (that our church had a vestibule tells you a lot, and that we called it a vestibule tells you even more) and saw the prettiest three-year-old I’d ever laid eyes on. We toss the word “breathtaking” around a bit too much (“You keep usin’ that word…”, Inigo would tell us), but she truly was. I’ve lived another thirty years, and I’ve still never seen a kid that cute. Believe me, the WCG comes by the C honestly.

A couple of years and a couple of months later, her mother and I were married, but Breathtaking still had her own last name. We left it to her, and it was another three years and a viewing of Yours, Mine and Ours (the original, funny one, not the travesty of a remake) before she decided she wanted to be a Rice. It took almost another year and a visit to a judge to make it happen, but happen it did, and her birth certificate now has my name on it. It’s kind of like what we say about people who move to Texas — I wasn’t there at the beginning, but I got there as soon as I could.

All of that is to say that my celebration of Father’s Day is perhaps a little more heartfelt than others’. Both mom and daughter had to choose to make it possible for me to celebrate, and so I count it a super-sized privilege, and blessing, to be able to do so. This year is, if possible, even more special, because we kept our unbroken streak alive — although she lives halfway around the world now, she happened to be here for the two weeks that Father’s Day fell in the middle of.

So, thank you to the two reasons I get to celebrate today — you are why this is Father’s Day for me, and not just nap day (although today it might be both).

For everyone else, feel free to go back to picking whatever you were picking before.

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