At my eldest daughter’s 18th birthday celebration, it was time for her old dad to make a speech and, having two daughters (no sons), I decided to start by saying that I was blessed by the women in my life – I mentioned my wife, naturally, my two daughters and I was just about to go on to embarrass my eldest daughter when a wee voice interrupts the crowded room “What about me?” It was my youngest sister. My other two sisters said in unison “What about us?” and then others chipped in “And what about your sisters-in-law?”, “And your nieces?” Looking around the room, I then caught my mum’s eye… eek!
I’ve not made that mistake again! And, of course, I am blessed by all these women without exception. Having just passed International Women’s Day, I’ve reflected on the women in my life again, in amongst all the stories of the hardships, oppression, violence and danger that women across the globe face on a daily basis.
When I think about the roads that my own two daughters have travelled and when I look at what they’re doing now, I’m bursting with pride. Both are now through university and fulfilling, at least, some of their dreams and both finding careers that they were meant for. How the world has changed… especially when you consider the lack of opportunities that, say, my mum had when she was growing up.
And now we have our first granddaughter – I have to tell you that being a grandparent is pretty special…. very, very special indeed!!!
What’s the swing tag got to do with family? Well, I did say that it’s from the shop Fat Face and, if you were unkind, those of us who take after one side of the family have fat faces or, if you were being kind, round faces! My oldest brother, who has the roundest face of us all, teases one niece in particular about being a “baw-faced Beveridge”. To translate, it means ball-faced Beveridge (Beveridge being the name of that side of the family).
So the tag reminds me of the blessings of family - we’re a big family and all of us get on, even though we might not agree on everything. Brothers, sisters, in-laws, nieces, nephews – it’s a real blessing because that seems to be unusual nowadays. So if you’re in a family like mine, give God thanks for that blessing.
And I’m all too aware that, to some, family can be a curse or even non-existent. But I also know that it doesn’t have to always be like that. God’s mercies are new every day. He is the great restorer. He has plans to prosper us and not to harm us. He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds!