This week, Valentine’s Day in fact, is my youngest daughter Jamie’s wedding anniversary. Her and Burney have been married for seven years. Oh how stressful were the few years leading up to that day! Burney is eight years older than her and she started seeing him when she was a senior in high school. Yes, do the math, she was eighteen and he was twenty-six. We were not at all happy about this when we found out. On top of that, Burney had a bit of a reputation around these parts of being a “party-er” and a player when it came to girls. We now know just how exaggerated those stories were. The truth is, his reputation was no worse than the one her father had when I married him, but this was different! This was his baby girl! Her Dad put his foot down and said “no, this was not going to happen!” Of course this put a strain on our relationship with Jamie for the remainder of her senior year and when she graduated and moved almost immediately, there was no doubt in our mind that it was to be closer to him, Thankfully Mark knew that when a child is eighteen years old, and living away from home, there is nothing you can do and did not push the issue. I tended to bury my head in the sand and tried to pretend that we were mistaken and he was no longer a part of her life. But then as time went on, she started trying to talk to me about him and how he was the one and she wanted him to be a part of our life as well as her own. I remember saying to her “Jamie, if this is going to happen, then he is going to have to talk to your father!” Mark assured me that I had nothing to worry about, Burney would never come try to talk to him, after all, he was a “player and party animal”.
About three months passed. Life went on, and I thought he was right. I never gave it another thought other than worrying about Jamie and trying to think of some “nice guy” I could introduce her to who would sweep her off her feet. One day the phone rang as I was going out the door. Immediately the thought came to me, “That’s Burney.” Now, remember, three months had passed and never once had that thought come in my head when I heard a ringing telephone. I picked up, answered and sure enough, I heard, “Norma, this is Burney, is Mark there? I need to talk to him.” I have no idea what I answered him, but I know I went to tell Mark to get on the phone, got in my pickup, and drove to town praying over and over again “Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit!” That’s all I could say, I didn’t know what to pray for. I have since come to realize that it was indeed the Holy Spirit who whispered in my ear that the ringing phone was Burney. He wanted me to stop worrying and to know that He was with us and that all would work out. Mark and Burney set a date to speak in person.
When that day came and he and Jamie walked in the door, Mark and I, along with Karen, Ryan their children, and my Mother were all sitting at the kitchen table. You could have cut the tension with a knife. Those who know my husband, know he isn’t short on words when he has something to say and he started letting them have it with both barrels and asking questions to find out exactly what Burney’s intentions were. The rest of us scattered like tumbleweeds in a tornado! We were in one of the bedrooms pretty much freaking out except for son-in-law Ryan who said, “Well, I can’t hear anything, I’m going somewhere where I can hear!” Karen whispers back “Are you kidding me!?” He answers by walking out, going into the living room and pretends to play a video game. Little three-year old Lexi wandered back and forth like nothing was going on. Mother, Karen, and I decided we needed to pray. Later on we heard that Lexi had gone in and patted Grandpa on the leg repeatedly saying “PaPa, PaPa” until he looked down and asked “Yes Lexi?” at which point she assuredly patted him again and told him “Everything’s going to be all right, MaMa’s praying!
Finally we heard Mark say, as far as he was concerned the slate was wiped clean, anything Burney had ever done in the past was just that, the past, he was welcome to become a part of our family and he would only be judged by anything that happened in the future. We all nervously went in and sat down to bowl’s of chili as Mark and Burney visited like nothing had ever happened. When Burney and Jamie left, Grandma declared that “all is well” because we had “broken bread with Burney!”
Looking back it is all so laughable. Burney has made Jamie a good husband and a wonderful father to their two beautiful little girls. We wouldn’t trade him for anybody. But I also know Burney understands where Mark was coming from as he looks as his two little angels. He and Mark have laughed about it and talked about why a father is so protective of his girls. I have a feeling when some young man stands in front of Burney in the future and Burney is trying to get out of him exactly what his intentions are, he will make Mark look like a tiny little pussy cat! That poor kid better be ready, because I don’t think “breaking bread with Burney” will come near as easy when Burney is the Dad!