By Mike Bailey
You may remember the name Art Linkletter. He had a TV show called Kids Say the Darndest Things. As a parent, you have many memories of the times your child said something noteworthy. Time is precious and best spent together; it can be snagged just about anywhere.
I am father of three fantastic daughters: Katie 21, McKenzie 18 and Caroline 12. These girls bring many blessings to their mom (Kim) and me, now married for 23 years. I would like to share with you just a glimpse of my life with the “Bailey Girls” in hopes you will look at your own children and count your many blessings.
My oldest was only about three when I quit my job and began Bailey Insurance Service in the basement of our Cedar Bluff home. Time was at a premium and I had many places to be working to make ends meet. Katie loved to go places with me and asked, “Daddy, why can I not go with you?” At once I realized that she asked with the expectation of being turned down. On that occasion, I was only going for milk, so I said, “Well, Katie, sure you can go!” Even a quick trip to Weigels can be valuable time. From then on, I looked for ways to say, “Yes, come go with Daddy.”
For too few years, I had the privilege of driving Katie and McKenzie to elementary school. This was a special time when I could hear from them; what was on their hearts and play little games.
One morning while getting dressed when McKenzie was about three, I found her wearing her new OshKosh B’Gosh overalls. She was standing in front of the full length mirror, hands in her pockets, twisting back and forth, apparently admiring herself. I asked, “McKenzie, you really like the way you look, don’t you?” She kept twisting, looking at herself in the mirror and replied, “I got pock-ets.” I can still hear her sweet 3 year old voice and see her head full of curly reddish blonde hair. Oh what a memory! Adults can be reminded to appreciate things like pockets from our little ones.
For too few years, I had the privilege of driving Katie and McKenzie to elementary school. This was a special time when I could hear from them; what was on their hearts and play little games. We used to listen to “Mose The Fire Man”, a tape that we got in a Chick-fil-A kids meal. The girls loved the story and being quizzed by me afterward. Each of us gained from the strong character content. We nearly always played the heater game on the way to school. My car numerically indicated engine temperature. Katie and McKenzie would guess at the temperature several times before it reached the peak of 210º. We had great laughs from the competition.
When Kim was pregnant with Caroline, number last, we all four looked forward to the birth day with great anticipation. When that day arrived and momma was preparing to “push,” we four gathered around momma to pray. I began then Mom, then Katie and last McKenzie. “Little Mack” prayed, “Dear God, don’t let Mommy and Daddy forget about me and Katie.”
A wise man once said, the best things you can do for your children is love their mom, pray for them and spend time with them. So, when the kids ask, “Daddy, why can I not go with you?” Answer, “I wouldn’t think of going without you!”
Mike Bailey is a dad, husband, community volunteer and the owner of Bailey Insurance Service located in Middlebrook Plaza in Knoxville.