My wife is the writer so spare me your indignant grammar gripes. Sometimes I get the itch to say something too 😉
I didn’t get to sleep in on Father’s Day. I woke up around 6am to my daughter yelling for “Mummahh!” (Emara has a bit of a Cockney accent when she has her pacifier in.) Usually sleeping in on FD is mandated from on high, but Steph was in Sun Prairie leading worship at the Heartland campus there so I was E’s only viable option for escape from her room. Begrudgingly I stumbled to her room in my best zombie saunter. Much to her surprise it was “dadee?” (me) who greeted her out of bed. After a brief (fake) meal from her new big girl kitchen set, we headed downstairs to break the fast on some delicious, low ambition foods like a banana & cereal poured on a plate w/milk in a cup (don’t judge my laziness. To describe myself as not-a-morning-person would be a dramatic understatement.) We then sat down for a steady diet of “Dora the Explorer”, “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” & “Sofia the First”. We played with her hand-me-down “My Little Pony” castle, ran circles around the house holding hands and played with her birthday balloons and laughed like crazy.
I eventually got ambitious enough to pack her up and get a workout in at the Y. I figured the combination of some hardcore playing in the morning and then some running around at the Y’s childcare would zonk her out for a huge nap so I could watch “Die Hard”, “Fast Five” or “Superman II” later on. Once we got to the Y, I immediately noticed the darkness in the child care room. No child care until 11am and it was 930. So I did what any self-respecting dad would do at that moment: walked around for 5 minutes (what I deemed an appropriate amount of time to be for the front desk people to forget my existence) then walked back out pretending and portraying a man who had “forgotten something” back in the car. The drive home with the disappointed and screaming toddler was miserable. I had foolishly walked her past the window of the pool inside and then promptly withdrew her from any hope of fun. Not the best fathering moment.
We got back home where I tried to salvage a shred of fatherly decency by getting my daughter to tryout her new tricycle (courtesy of her grandma & pop.) She decided, very promptly, that that was a terrible idea and demanded back inside. So I put Emara down for a nap and grabbed a seat on the couch to dive into some serious “Yippee ki yay” and forget that I had to mow the lawn so my next door neighbor wouldn’t think me such a slacker (fyi: he owns a landscaping business and has an immaculate lawn.) I have to admit I was kind of pissed. I wanted the lazy morning I was “owed”. I wanted to vedge out to some mindless guy flick or the U.S. Open. I wanted, at the VERY LEAST, get a solid workout in to blow off some steam and do some self-betterment. I deserved it right? This is my one day a year to blow off responsibility and make other people dode on my every need. ‘Merica.
Thank God I looked up at the wall of pictures we have next to our couch BEFORE I turned the tv on. This wall is full of pictures of Emara, reminders of the children we lost & the hope of Baby Z yet to come. Perspective. Suddenly it all came back to me. Endless nights of tears, visits to the ER, doctors offices and specialists. Sober & drunken moments of screaming at God and cursing & questioning his existence. Heartache & setback and the seemingly insurmountable cost of hospital bills and adoption costs. I remember these moments. I had reminders tattooed to my body so I would never be able to forget the pain, BUT also so I could never forget the joy, the hope or the journey. Allow me the cheesiness of a movie quote from one of my favorite movies of all time “The Shawshank Redemption”.
“Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies” -Red
I begged and pleaded with God to have sleepless nights for a crying baby. I bargained and made deals with Him for early mornings & early nights in. I cried and sobbed to myself that I would give anything to have one, JUST ONE moment of holding a living child in my arms to call my own. A child I could one day force to like all the dumb, meaningless stuff I like so we could bond over ball games & movies & silly books about dragons. And look.
Emara, the child we wished for. Jane, a gift from God.
I got through those stretches still believing in God. I fought Him, wrestled Him, cursed Him and He took it. He didn’t give us Emara then, not for years actually, but I refused to believe that the God who had changed my life wasn’t as good a God now as he was then. I don’t know if you believe or your reason not to. I am not as learned a scholar or an apologetic as I probably should be about Christianity. But I can tell you this with utter certainty, He changed my life and has proven Himself faithful time and time again in my life. This I will never forget.
Thanks for the reminder. Happy Father’s Day to me.