“But I love him dad!”

Neela Neela……

I’m starting to get some grey hair and I know where it’s coming from.

We’re driving around town the other day and Neela asks me “Dad, are you in love with anyone?” I just look at her. She now has the attention of my other girls in the car. I say wryly “Of course I am! I’m in love with you!” She starts thinking about it and replies “I’m too small for you, you’re in love with mom aren’t you?” I say “Yes, I’m in love with mom.”

Neela matter-of-factly: “Well I’m in love with Sage.”

The best way to describe how I felt would be this: Imagine falling asleep in the sunshine of a gently rocking sailboat then waking up to find yourself sinking in a storm?

Hold on… not quite like that. More like this:

Having a dream that you’ve fallen asleep in the sunshine of a gently rocking sailboat then waking up to find yourself sinking in a storm,… then actually waking up for real… only to find yourself in an airplane crashing into a mountain. That’s how I felt.

You might be wondering who Sage is? Sage is a fifteen year old boy who goes to Venue with his family who we’re very close with. Neela is five.

Now I’m not beneath beating a fifteen year old boy when it comes to my daughters and this weird protective thing I feel for them. Some people would call that insanity but I’m writing this and they’re not, and that makes me right.

Sage’s dad Dr Andrew is one of my best buddies. I’m physically afraid of him. He’s big and strong and a little unpredictable (which makes him extremely funny, like this one time he found a dead bird on his back deck and held it on his head with the wings outstretched and ran into the house to show his son who was watching The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp shouting “Look! Me Tonto! Me Tonto!”). He just got baptized at Venue which made my whole year, but I still wouldn’t tangle with him.

He might not take kindly to me jumping his teenage son in a back alley with a lead pipe but I’m still going to do it. If he destroys this somewhat amazing (cough cough) physical temple he’ll only have to stitch it back up anyways and if he kills me I’m going to heaven for dads who love their daughters so there’s really not much risk involved.

Why does Neela love Sage? Sage is absolutely amazing with little kids. He takes time with them and makes them feel special, which I normally applaud unless it’s one of my daughters who falls in love with him. Then I hate him with an unreasonable and consuming hatred and glare it him when his father’s not around. Sage knows. He knows and is probably frightened of his pastor. And that’s exactly what I’m looking for.

We vacationed in Montana this July and Neela asked on the trip down “Is Sage going to be there?” I responded with a knowing and self satisfied smile “No sweetheart he’s not.” Just to keep me off balance (Neela’s job in this life) she says matter-of-factly “He’s my boyfriend you know…”

This certainly received all of my attention “No, he’s not!”
Neela nonplussed: “Yes he is!”
Me: “NO… he’s not!”
Neela slightly grinning: “YES…he is!”
Me: “NO…HE’S NOT!!!???!!
A bemused and quite certain Neela: “YES    HE    IS!!!!!”

She got her wires crossed about what a border crossing was and thought Sage was going to be there. How did we know? Arwen asked her why she was brushing her hair as we were stopping. Probably disappointing to go to all that work (which is certainly not normal) when the love of her life wasn’t even there. All in all it just added another alarming wave to the emotional ocean I’m drowning in.

What am I going to do with Neela? What am I going to do when it’s time to give my daughters away in marriage? It’d be like giving a delicate china teacup to some slobbering wild beast (not Sage but every boy in general)! No! I won’t do it!

My big plan was to lock them in the basement until they’re thirty five and only let them out to feel the sun on their faces once a year dressed in burlap potato sacks wearing fake mustaches. I’m starting to feel concerned that this plan, though brilliant, might not actually work.

My backup plan?

 

 

Panic.

(Breathe Corey… breathe)

All I can say is this:

Sage, you’d better be something special for me to give one of my daughters to you or I’ll plant you in my yard as a warning to all other suitors: “Get your A-game on when you come a-lookin for a Kope girl!”

Be warned!

PS. To my buddy Andrew: I’m not afraid of you unless you actually find out about this.

Corey Kope

Pastor. Father of 4 beauties. Devoted husband, Liverpool fan, and Jesus follower.

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