The Little Moment: A tale of realization as a dad.

My life, as of late, has been measured by the moment. To some this may be a dad thing, in this case it is amazing. This weekend I took some time and headed to a park with Zoey and David. I have been working with the  City Dads Group and finally was able to get a chapter started here in Richmond, VA. While this has added to the never-ending list of things that I am working on, it is extremely important. I have benefitted through my current journey from countless other dads. This has empowered me to do something to help others. I have watched a community building itself out of awesomeness.  City Dads is a community of fathers that work hard to redefine fatherhood in the 21st century. I am so happy to be bringing this to Richmond, leading the charge, but that is a story for later.

There was a moment while we were walking on the trail that struck me.

moment of joy

The recent rain brought forth a bouquet of fresh aromas under the canopy of the trees. The deep, earthen soil mulling with sweet pine being baked in the humid spring heat brought memories of my childhood forward. I watched as their little bodies would lean and run around the winding path. The joy and excitement of each and every step reverberated through the deep woods.  The rapid scraping sound of little shoes running across fine gravel echoed with a cacophonous tumult, pushed further with the sound of laughter.

“There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Taking this time with my kids means the world to me. It is my honor and duty to raise them up to be better than myself. It was in this moment, far from the sounds of suburban life, that the juxtaposition of the quote struck me.  As I glanced through the trees, over the standing water, and watched the blur of my son and daughter, I smiled. This moment was the embodiment of the quote from Goethe. My children were simultaneously showing their roots and wings. It was beautiful, and inspiring.

This is not a mark of completion, but a trail marker on the way. It is a sign that I am doing something right, that amidst the trials and failures, there is something beginning to grow.

 

Live big, love bigger, and be kind, always.

Well, it finally happened. A tale of my shortcomings

In the age we live in, with rapid access to endless things, it was bound to happen. I just thought it would be some time before it did.  I also thought that it would happen when I could have a conversation about it with my little ones.  But sadly, that is not the case. Let me walk you through what just happened.

I walked in to the family room to find my son and daughter, mouths agape, staring at the television.  I turned to see what was captivating so much of their attention, and my heart sank.  Quickly, I reached over and took the remote from my son, and turned it off as the reality set in.

My mind raced with questions, for which I knew there was no answer.

How did he get the remote?

How did he find THAT channel?

I thought they were asleep, what are they BOTH doing up?

In a flurry I knew I needed to talk to them about what they had just seen, no matter how difficult it would be for their minds to comprehend. The hard part would be talking to them about what just happened, and not showing my emotions.

Is this real life?

I explained to them that what they were watching was on TV.  That what two, consenting, ‘adults’ do in front of cameras for millions to see, is not always real.  They were projecting fantasy. They want the viewers to feel that this is how they always are. I told them that in my time on earth, I have learned that what they had just seen is not always real.  They looked up at me, with big eyes, and smiled. I changed their focus with two chocolate chip cookies, and the promise of an amazing bedtime story. They excitedly ran into the kitchen to devour their prizes before heading back to bed, and I collapsed onto the couch.

How did this happen?

How did I let my guard down?

What kind of father lets this happen?

Depressed, I turned the television back on, to change the channel from what they had been watching, and turned off the presidential debate in favor of something more appropriate.

What? Did you think my kids were watching something else?

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Live big, love bigger, and be kind, always.

At the end of the day…

Sometimes as a dad I am given gifts of such immense depth. The cool thing is that the value is often unknown by the giver, and if I were less of a dad, they would go unnoticed.

Tonight is one of those moments. Little dude had a super rough night last night. He woke up screaming at 3am, and this in-turn woke up his sister at four. After a hot and exhausting (in many ways good) weekend, this is exactly what I did not need the morning of an interview. Beyond tired my beloved and I went to her midwife appt (#3 is doing awesome) and I went to work.

Work was work, and the interview went well, more on that later. I came home and my sweet bride was falling asleep standing up. So, off to a bubble bath and bed for her while I cleaned and put the kiddos down. Zoey was asleep in minutes, David… not so much.

So, I put on a train video, and he curled up with me, his little feet poking out so I could rub them.

These are the moments that are gifts. These are the times that I get to sit in peace, little toes darting around my fingers, while my little boy just spends time with me. It is these times that I can offer the tiredness that is life, that I am renewed, that I feel like I am on top of the world.

Be brave, live big, and be kind, always.

Little Moments

Over the last few months, as we have careened through our third pregnancy, something awesome has been happening.  I am not just talking about the fact that my beloved bride is growing another member of our family.  I am talking about the fact that David has become closer to me.  Let me explain.

For as long as she has been alive, Zoey has been a daddy’s girl through and through.  When David came onto the scene it just so happened that he would (almost) always go to his mama when he needed anything.  But, as this pregnancy has progressed, he has started to come to me.  He has ALWAYS been excited when I come home after a long day at work, or even a 2 minute trip to the mailbox.  But now he is climbing up and sitting on my lap, caressing my beard, giving me kisses and hugs, showing me that he wants ME to play with him… and my heart is just exploding.

It is not that I ever had the thought that something to this effect would ever happen.  It is also not the case that he is less in love with his mama.  But, having these little moments in time where he and I are able to laugh and play is amazing.  I know, and expect, that as the children grow older there will be an equilibrium that is reached… but I am willing for that to take as long as is needed.  There is something unique about the love and excitement that is exuded from children when it comes to their parents.  It makes me feel like I am doing (at least) something right for them to feel this way about me.

And I love it.