By Jacob Hatcher
I was as nervous as I had ever been. I had decided to move out of my parent’s home, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. I wasn’t nervous because I thought it was unwise or wrong; I was nervous because I didn’t want to hurt my parent’s feelings. I waited for my opportunity, mustered up the courage, and told Daddy what my plan was. I sat in silence waiting on his response. Would he cry? I’m blessed with Daddy that openly cries, so it was in the realm of possibility. He’s probably going to cry when he reads this. I waited a few seconds longer, the suspense building in the room. And right as it couldn’t get any thicker, he looked at me and said, “I think that would be a good thing to do. But you need to know, no matter what house you live in, wherever we are will always be your home.” I’ve heard a lot about core memories recently, and whatever those are, this moment is one of them. I can smell the dinner that was on the stove when he said it. I can feel the summer sun coming through the nearby window. Mama was usually the one with sage advice on decision making and life lessons; Daddy has his opinions, but always seemed content to let Mama do most of the talking. But occasionally Daddy would just come out and say what needs to be said. He’s sort of like John Wayne with a thick southern drawl in that way. I’m sure in that silence between my announcement and his response, he had hundreds of thoughts float through his mind. But his response taught me more about parenting than a shelf full of books ever could. What he taught me in that moment was that, for a split few seconds, I was all that mattered. I learned that no matter what else was rattling around in his brain, the most important thing was me knowing that they loved me, and that love could never be shaken.