June 20, 2012

Father's Day Surprise!

Last weekend, our son Gerrit and his family spontaneously asked us to go with them to our family trailer. It didn't take more than 5 minutes for me to think about it and to respond with a yes. Within an hour, we were winging our way through Toronto traffic, and made the traditional stop at the McDonalds drive-thru on highway #115 before arriving safely at the trailer.

It is a wonderful change of scenery for me to hear the many birds, smell the campfire, and watch my son cut the grass, prune the trees, and water the cedars. My grandson had to wait for his father to finish work before going out on a fishing expedition together. I don't know how many times he asked when they could go, but he readily helped by picking up sticks and pinecones from the lawn, and tossing them into the fire. There is something about fires that all boys, young and old, find mesmerizing.

The next day, I went in my electric wheelchair to the dock to see them off for another fishing trip. "Are you coming with us, dad?" my son asked. I thought about it for about 10 seconds, and said "sure, why not". Gerrit and Lena lifted me out of my wheelchair onto my wobbly legs. I had to take a big step up onto a wobbly floating dock, and then, with each of them having one foot in the boat and one foot on the dock, they lifted my one leg into the front of the boat and then the other one and from there I had to walk across the bow into the seat of the bobbing boat. 

It was probably not the safest, most responsible thing I've ever done, but it sure was worth it! Benjamin, our 5 year old grandson, was watching the whole procedure and when I finally was seated in the boat, he spontaneously broke out into the biggest smile and gave us a big thumbs up.

In order to get out to the lake, you have to pass through a channel that they've cut out through the bullrushes. When you get to the end of the docks, you have to "floor it" so that you can plane out as you fly through the channel, as it is quite shallow at first. Now it is always my habit at that moment, when weaving through the channel, with the wind in my hair, smiling in anticipation and feeling full of joy and thankfulness, to throw both hands in the air and at the top of my voice, yell, "Yeeeehaaaaw!!"

Of course Benjamin is used to hearing me do this and has been "yeehawing" along with me for the last few years, but this trip, he realized that I was not able to do it so with Lena behind me holding up both my arms, Benjamin, while sitting on the bow threw up both his little arms high in the air and at the top of his voice showed us that he was more than happy to carry on this tradition from grandfather to son to grandson.

I spent the afternoon watching my son and grandson fish. What a happy Father's Day weekend it turned out to be for me. Fathers, it is so important that you not only feed and clothe and pray for your children, but that you also spend time with them. They need it and thrive on it.

Jack and Lena


  1. So glad that you were able to do this! What a gift for you and also what a gift for your family!

  2. Wonderful! I am so happy for you that you could do this.

    Mary V.

  3. Sonia WielhouwerJune 20, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Uncle Jack,
    Wow! Thank you for sharing this and sending on the picures. If only every father in the world would read this!! What an example we have in our heavenly FATHER. lots of love, Sonia

  4. Thank-you for posting and sharing these special moments with all of us reading. Ours prayers continue to be raised for you and your entire family. I have the privilege of driving both Ethan and Benjamin on the bus. They are a joy. Their quick smiles warm my heart.
    Sincerely, Amie Pronk

  5. Our God is so GOOD. We tears in my eyes I am thanking God for the beautiful gifts through such a difficult journey - "beauty from ashes". Ericka

  6. I agree Marietta - such a gift to us as well! When my mom texted me telling me that dad was on the boat (with a picture) I couldn't stop smiling! It makes us so happy to see that real smile on our dad's face. Such a gift, all around!

  7. Jack, I love your inner resolve to allow your family the privileges of experiencing such happy moments even with the tremendous struggles implied. May these memories be lessons for many to inspire them to do what is possible to enjoy the Lord's gifts of life and family even in very difficult circumstances. henk

  8. Enjoyed reading that! Glad you could be part of the fun with your family. Reading your blog is a blessing to me and many others I'm sure :)

  9. Dear Jack,

    I could not help thinking of this quote by Walter Cradock, "Take a saint, and put him in any condition, and he knows how to rejoice in the Lord." It was wonderful to see your smile in the pictures! You are in our prayers.

    With love,

  10. Weeeehaaa! Ditto on the tears of joy about your smile Jack! So happy for all of you that this was possible. Our God is SO good! Gerrit thank you so much for all you do for your Dad and Mom along with Sarah and Joni and the rest of the family! God truly does give joy in the midst of ashes. Enjoy! Love you all! Ink

  11. Goooooo, Jack! So happy for this joy, and your words, and hearing YOU in them. You are always in ours prayers. Tanya

  12. as I read this I could not help think of Moses as his hands were held up by Aaron and Hur and how God can help us through everything if we hold our hands up to Him

  13. Just love this post and am so thankful you were able to go out with Ger and Benjamin. What a wonderful memory! Thanks so much for sharing, Uncle Jack!
    Lots of love,

  14. There you are sitting in a boat, big smile on your face, enjoying every moment with your family! God is so good! Thanks for sharing... you can have joy in your trials!

    Jackie DeJong

  15. Happy Father's Day Mr. Westerink
    What a wonderful gift it was for you to share this time with your son and grandson!
    May you cherish this time you have with your family.
    My prayers are with you.

  16. I just read this story to our three youngest and they loved it. It also made them happy to see your broad smile. What a heart-warming story, and a good reminder for dads and moms alike. Your children are a living testimony of good parenting, Jack.