Heavenly Hand-Me-Downs

So much of a parent’s day is consumed by their child or children; as it should be. But I think there is a difference between a parent and mom or dad. Much of this blog is about things that my wife is going through or events that she and I have experienced together. But it also tells my story of being a dad. I struggle with my own independence. I want to go golfing or mountain biking, or paintballing or knee-boarding. But I have found that those feelings are what a Mr. Mom goes through. In the world today, there are magazines, books, TV shows/stations, seminars, and retreats to help a mom be a woman again; as there should be. Watching my wife be a mom, it frustrates me that she doesn’t have the time or the energy to sometimes get back to being just a woman and not always having to be mom. Am I to blame for that? Could I do a better job of shouldering more of the load? “Sure”, to both questions. But I like to think that I am very involved in the lives my children.

I can get sick and tired of the absolute grind it can be to deal with the day-in and day-out needs of taking care of five children. They are all most definitely developing their own personalities and making said personalities known with attitude. So, there are moments of sheer defiance and irritability. And these moments are equally matched with moments of little fingers in my hands and “Daddy, I love you.”

Ever since Logan was real little, I have been teaching him fun words and sayings. At an early age, he learned how to raise the roof and say,”What’s up, dawg?” Well, one night after bath time, I was drying him off and we were laughing and just having a good time getting ready to wind down for the night. After I had dried his hair, I looked at him and said,”Logan, you’re as cool as the other side of the pillow.” (A saying I am sure has been around for a very long time, but I first heard it on Sportscenter while in college.) He tried to repeat it back to me. We were there in the bathroom for probably 15 minutes saying that back-and-forth to one another. Nowadays, just out of the blue, Logan will say,”Hey Daddy, you’re as cool as the other side of the pillow.” (Sometimes, it comes out “…as cool as the other side of the piwwow.”) It may not be the ideal ego-boost most men are looking for, but I gotta tell ya, it makes this man feel pretty dog-gone good.

Tonight, I was downstairs in the living room. It had been an hour since I had put the kids to bed. Low and behold, the girls were in their room talking. (Do even toddler girls have a “word quota”?!?!) Well, I stand by the door before going in to see if I can tell which ones are talking. I open the door slowly and quietly. Madison is the only one that sees me come in, but she wasn’t one of the ones talking anyways. Ms. Candice is looking over her heard, singing some little song that she had made up and playing with the wooden slats at the end of her bed. As soon as she sees me standing at the end of her bed, she stops, sort of smiles, and looks as if she had been caught eating a cookie before dinner. Ms. Samantha is in her bed with her feet in the air up by her face, also singing some song, and playing with her toes. She stopped and looked over just a little after she heard Candi stop singing. They weren’t up playing or getting into any sort of trouble, but they knew they were suppose to be resting and going to sleep. (Madison looked exhausted; as if she wished the other two girls would be quiet so she could go to sleep. The teen-years should be a blast.)

Early today, I took Logan to the pool, while the quads took their naps. Now that we have gone to the pool several times over the last week, the boy wants to go as soon as he wakes up in the morning. Two things happened at the pool that made me feel pretty good about being the dad I am. 1.) Logan wanted me in the water with him the whole time. Not because he needed me to help him swim, but because he wanted to play catch. I encouraged him to play with some of the other boys and girls first. After I witnessed several attempts on Logan’s part to get some other kids to play with him, to no avail, I hopped in and we had a blast just playin’ around. It’s not that other kids wouldn’t play with him, it just seemed like they were overly-rowdy for Logan. (There seemed to me to be a lot of unsupervised kids there today. At least, I hope that was the case…) The way Logan is swimming, he may be ready to take his arm-floaties off before the end of Summer. I know every parent brags about his or her child, but based on how afraid of the water he was last Summer, the kid continues to amaze me with his growth. But I will admit, when he has worn himself down, and he’ll be the first to you when he needs “a rest”, it is such an awesome feeling when he says,”Daddy, can you help me over. I’m a little tired.” The second thing that rocked my heart came from another parent sitting next to me. We had all been talking about who knows what when he paused for a moment and said,”Aren’t you the dad that was here the other day with all those kids? You have five kids, right?” After confirming his thought and going through the “wows” and “amazings”, he goes,”We were all impressed at how you and your wife kept a watchful eye on all five, yet seemed to have a good time yourselves. Ya’ll are doing a great job.” We might hear that often, as any good parent should, but right at that moment, it just felt good for some stranger to say that.

As I talked to a friend of ours at the pool, who has a special needs child, it is nice to know that no parent, no matter the level of difficulty they are facing, is the only one dealing with all those issues. Whether its Jon and Kate and their eight or the Dixon’s and their quads, or the couple with the one child, we all have good days and bad days. But these Heavenly Hand-Me-Downs we all get to spend time with during our time on earth are gifts that keep on giving. I call them my Heavenly Hand-Me-Downs because they were “handed down” from Heaven; not because they were no longer needed in Heaven. I just pray I can return them to “sender” better than they were when given to me. I have sooooooooooooooooooooo much more to learn and tonssssssssssss to work on, but this never-ending project of being the best parent for these kids is well worth it. Thank you, God. My kids are as cool as the other side of the piwwow.


One Response to “Heavenly Hand-Me-Downs”

  1. NanaPops Says:

    “Ya’ll ARE doing a great job.”

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