Our family made a Saturday trip to Greenville recently.  Amidst the shoe shopping extravaganza, we decided to go to Miyabi Japanese Steakhouse for dinner that night.  We just had to pick out shoes quickly so that we could make it for the early bird special!

All of my children have been really good eaters.  They try a lot of cuisines and they eat a lot of it.  Even Gloria like to try different things, but if she finds something she doesn’t like, she will tell you.

She has been to a Japanese steakhouse before and she has enjoyed the whole experience.  It keeps her entertained and reduces the chance of her wanting to get down and run around the restaurant.

At Miyabi that night, Gloria did something that taught me about her heart.  When it was time to eat, she desperately wanted to sit near her mom.  She actually wanted to be even closer and get in her mother’s lap.  While it is more difficult for Amanda to manage this way, she allowed it for this meal.  Amanda says that she doesn’t come to me for food because I won’t give her any and she knows that Mom will be the one to share.  I disagree slightly.

Everything was fine at the meal.  The boys and I weren’t talking because we are putting some rice and veggies down.  Gloria’s face and Amanda’s shirt were now covered in shrimp sauce.  It was a great time.

Then all of a sudden, one of the chefs gets exceptionally loud, boisterous, and illuminated with 2-foot flames sizzling in front of him.  At this point, Gloria begins to cry and desperately reach for me.  Sitting in her mom’s lap, she reached for her dad.

I know that she feels secure with her mom.  She loves her mom and feels utmost protection when she is around her, but I thought about the events of the night.

When Gloria wanted nurture, she naturally went to her mom.

When Gloria wanted protection, she naturally went to her dad.

Is that because Mom is more giving and generous?  Is it because Dad is bigger and scarier?  I don’t know all of the thought process, but I do know that something within her 17-month old frame decided that each of her parents have unique things to offer.  And that night, I was very thankful that she had parental options to choose from.

If you think about your childhood, you probably went to a particular parent for something specific.  If you lived with both parents, you knew that each one had distinct characteristics.  What I was thankful for in that moment is that God calls a married couple “one.”  He doesn’t call us a team, a pair, or a couple, he states that we operate as one now (Gen. 2:24).

In our personalities, there are specific things that our children need.  By ourselves, we are lacking, but together, we are more complete.  And our children have legitimate needs.

What did my daughter teach me at a Japanese steakhouse?

She really needs her mommy.

She really needs her daddy.

Travis Agnew is a Christian, husband, father, pastor, author, blogger, and religion instructor.