Monday, November 16, 2009

A Thankful Daddy

Yesterday we relished the fact that Bethany was done working outside our home. She came home, exhausted as usual, and fell asleep in her chair in the living room. I knew she was more tired than usual, because she hates going to sleep on Sunday morning. That’s just what a great mom she is – even after working two overnight shifts, she still wants to stay up with her boys.

When Bethany first started working last October, I admit, I was a big baby. I wasn’t sure if I could handle Jackson all on my own. It’s embarrassing to admit now, but I just didn’t feel adequate to be mom and dad at the same time. See, ever since Jackson was born, he’s been surrounded by his parents. I was out of work for the first eight months of his life, so we were blessed to be together all the time. Even when I started working again, he had Bethany 24/7- I didn’t know how he would respond to not having her at bedtime. Thankfully, I underestimated him and myself; we never had a problem. My greatest obstacle was my own fear. What I thought would be a traumatic separation for him ended up being a priceless father-son bonding experience. We would eat dinner, watch tv, play with toys, read books and then I would say his prayers with him. He didn’t cry, he didn’t scream – he just got in his bed and went to sleep. I was amazed.

Starting the first of January, Bethany shifted to two overnight shifts (Friday and Saturday) so that Jackson would never even know she was gone. That’s tough- if you’ve ever worked an overnight shift then you know how much it messes up your schedule. You spend all weekend working and then come home and go right back to being full time mom. Bethany, as always, did it without complaint.

With the new schedule came a new challenge: keeping Jackson occupied in the mornings while Bethany slept. I had to become more resourceful, more creative, more willing to go places with Jackson. We discovered a huge park that was walking distance from our house. We found trails to hike, creeks to throw rocks in, swings, slides, lakes, all sorts of things that keep little boys (and daddies) occupied. I learned how to always be prepared – never leave the house without a diaper, wipes, something to drink and a snack. I learned to trust my instincts as a father (I had the best example). I get so caught up in getting somewhere or accomplishing something specific that I forget that the big picture is just spending time together. Some my favorite memories involve nothing more than just slowing down and letting Jackson lead the way.

Above all else, I’m thankful for this last year with Jackson. If Bethany had never gone to work, I would have never learned all of these things. I would have never shared those precious moments with my boy. We wouldn’t have built the bond that we have today, and I definitely wouldn’t have shaken off that first-time-parent sense of What if I do something wrong.

So, in the spirit of the season, to my wife, my partner, and my love – thank you for all you do for our family. Without your hard work, we’d be in dire straits. And to God, our strength and our provider, time and time again You have blessed this house. Thank you for my family, and all the blessings that You have heaped on my plate.

One last thing. Yesterday I was being a horse for Jackson- this means he rides on my shoulders and I half run/walk while he says, “FASS HORFEY!!” We were in the park discovering new parts of the creek where we like to throw rocks. The little guy was having the best time when, unexpectedly, I felt his little hands patting my face and then his head resting against mine. A few seconds later he planted a little kiss right on top of my head. My heart was melting…and I hear, “Tank too Dadee”. Oh man, I thought as my throat tightened, this is one of those moments…one of those moments people remember forever. One of those slides on the wall of your memory that flash before your eyes right before you die. This is the essence of daddyhood, and I’ll never ever forget it.



Courtney said...

That was so sweet Ben. Bethany is an all around great person. Isn't it great to figure out on your own that you can conquer your fears? I don't think God would put something in front of you that you couldn't handle. :)

Bethany- You have a great husband! ;)

mom2k said...

Made me cry!

Traci said...

Awe...made me cry also...But very,very sweet...God has been very good to bless my daughter with such a wonderful caring...Christian Husband..And Jackson with such a great Daddy...I know Luke will be just as to all..;)

hannah said...

hi ben. i made it all the way to the end...and then i lost it.

thank you for this post. thank you for what you said. i think so many people forget how powerful the role of a father is. how important it is. thank you for the reminder. and i stand in awe of how well you do that.

i loved the part about how you never knew you'd be able to do all that you've done had you not been given the opportunity. as a mom, i've felt that same way.

what lucky little boys you have. and what a lucky wife. maybe "blessed" is a better word. yep...that's the perfect word.

Laura said...

I'm all choked up and teary. That was beautiful.

Mitzi said...

Hi. I'm a friend of Hannah's and was directed to read this posting via her blog... This was absolutely beautiful! It sounds/looks like you are both quite blessed!