As a little girl growing up, I always assumed I looked (or would look) just like my mom. I even remember going to a mother/daughter look-a-like contest at the mall when I was about 10 years old. Turns out, unfortunately, no one really thought we looked all that much alike. And they were probably right.
Even though I have a lot of my mom’s personality (my brother often reminds Adam, “You know you married my mom, right?”…and I take that as a compliment :))…even though I have her voice, her mannerisms, her occasional ditziness (sorry, mom…we both know it’s true ;-)), and hopefully many of the wonderful qualities I admire most about her…physically I look more like my dad.
I inherited the Bartoletti body type, lip, forehead (though hopefully I’ll keep my hair), nose, cleft chin, and big dark brown eyes.
My father’s eyes.
And I’m certainly not complaining. I sure do love my dad.
Today is his 57th birthday…and a song keeps running through my head. In my mind, I’m 10 years old again and kickin’ it old school with my walkman and my favorite Amy Grant cassette tape…
I may not be every mother’s dream for her little girl,
And my face may not grace the mind of everyone in the world.
But that’s all right, as long as I can have one wish I pray:
When people look inside my life, I want to hear them say,
She’s got her Father’s eyes,
Her Father’s eyes;
Eyes that find the good in things,
When good is not around;
Eyes that find the source of help,
When help just can’t be found;
Eyes full of compassion,
Seeing every pain;
Knowing what you’re going through
And feeling it the same.
Just like my Father’s eyes,
My Father’s eyes,
My Father’s eyes,
Just like my Father’s eyes.
I realize these lyrics are referring to God…but they also sound a whole awful lot like my dad.
And I want my dad’s eyes…because they do look so much like my Father’s.
My dad is far from perfect, but for the past almost 30 years my eyes have watched him.
I’ve watched him lay across his bed, like he did (and does) every night, praying and interceding for a list of names that rivals a phone book. People that he’s cared for. Ministered to. Talked with. Or only heard about. Promised to pray for. And he does.
I’ve watched him battle chronic pain, job loss, death of loved ones, and heart-break in ministry…and yet still maintain his mantra “It’s just another tricky day.” And it is.
I’ve watched him love his spouse of almost 34 years. Dance with her. Sing to her. Laugh at her. Pray over her. Apologize when he’s wrong. Tenderly hold her. Make her feel safe. And he does.
I’ve watched him draw. Using his incredible God-given talent to create and illustrate beauty…and direct our gaze to Jesus. And it does.
I’ve watched him disciple more people than I can count. He didn’t have the greatest knowledge of the Bible or the most academic training. But he sure did (and does) love Jesus passionately…almost like it oozes through his pores. And it does.
I’ve watched him hug my friends. Come downstairs to see them having a heart to heart at the dining room table. Heard them look forward to coming to my house because “Geno makes me feel like the most important person in the world.” And he does.
I’ve watched him minister to people. Loving them. I mean really loving them. He cares. He hurts. He listens. He talks. He sacrificially gives. Genuinely doing his best to make them feel special. And he does.
I’ve watched him be “Papa” to my boys. And he’s the best. Isaiah adores him…and yesterday declared that he wants to be an artist and draw pictures…just like Papa.
But I hope Isaiah inherits even more from him.
You see, even though they may be a different color, Isaiah’s got my eyes. My father’s eyes. And I’m praying that he’ll see His Heavenly Father in them…and want to look the same.
Happy birthday, Daddy. I love you!