Forty-nine years ago, my dad was born.
Today my mother dug up some old baby movies they’d taken from 1981 to 1984. The film was stored on projector reels (it was some time later that my mom had gotten a new "cam-corder" that recorded onto miniature VCR cassettes which needed an adaptor cassette.) My mom still had the projector device and a screen. They seemed to work well except for becoming choppy in a few places. Some had audio and some didn’t.
My dad as a 23-year-old seemed nice enough… He was fit and reasonably handsome, he had three usually happy kids, and he had a beautiful wife. He frequently told us "I love you" on the movies, although I think I was never old enough to answer back.
He surely knew I loved him. …He surely knows it now.
During the chronologically latest reel (which we didn’t watch quite last), my mother mentioned that they had already gotten divorced by then.
…Well, he was never far, and we never felt like we grew up without a father.
…But I just wonder how my brother and sister might have turned out, if not for that separation. One reel showed us in our Sunday clothes; Shane was saying something about the talk he gave in church.
…And I wonder how I might have turned out.
…"Kelly", we came to call him as we grew up. But in those earliest movies, he was… "Dad".
Handicapped or otherwise, I praise God for having always given me enough self-awareness to possibly overcome my inherited limitations. Surely, standing here at the brink of tomorrow, at the edge of eternity, I can look forward with the confidence of being able to choose my own destiny, good or ill.
Today, I am free.
And today I live because he lived, he who arrived here 22 years and 2 days before me.
During the movies, my mother confirmed to me that after having my sister, she had been pregnant for some months before losing the child — and then I came quickly after.
…Who was that? What would have been?
But this, here, now, is Steve. Thank you, God, for my life.
Thank you, Mom.
And thank you, Dad, whom I have never yet excelled… and never will until I have three little babies to record on my camera, telling them…
…"I love you."
…And I surely will know that they love me too.
-Steven Tanner Foster
(The epitaph reads,
Imagine with me moving effortlessly
Through majestic realms of Eternity,
Receiving His love, perceiving His wisdom,
and glorifying in Eternal Freedom – KTF
…a stanza from one of his poems.)