24 January 2008

Father of Three

Three Boys in Snow
Originally uploaded by csquard

With my wife in Charleston for five days, I'm now forced to take over the sole parenting duties for a hundred hours or so. It is one of the most important times in my life, and it teaches me so much about so many things.

My wife I'm a lifer when it comes to marriage, always planning on growing old with my bride. Each morning that she is still with me is a truly special morning, as I've never really understood why she chose me and stuck with me.

The Role of Mother With her gone, I'm able to step into her shoes in the role of mother. One component of being a mother is the sheer project management required. It seems more like rappelling than some elegant dance from event to task. And it's all fairly simple right now, with a 6th grader, a 4th grader, and a three-year old. I'm not quite sure how they get fed, how they get bathed, how they get all their homework done, how they get from here to there. And all of these are simply the tasks of motherhood, tasks that simply can not be overstated as to their value. The heart of any mother is of significantly more value. The more the daily chores can be reduced or redistributed, the greater the opportunity that the mother's heart can be put fully into action.

Father of Three vs Father of Each It is easy for me to simply herd my trio of lads from one place to another. I too often think of them collectively rather than individually. As the sole parent, I'm forced into more frequent and varied alone time with each of them. It is so easy for me to slip into my role as father in the chair or driver's seat, barking a reprimand here, giving a hug there, all the while believing I'm a stellar father. Being alone exposes the lack of focus I have with each of them. I don't even think it has to do with being a good father or bad, growing better or worse kids. It's more that as a father, I have this incredible opportunity for intimacy, for understanding, for amazement if I just take the time to focus on each of them and spend time with each young man on his own terms. The pendulum in these relationships will shift in their favor soon enough, and I'll have to somehow make an appointment in their lives. I went to music class with our youngest this morning, a ridiculous gathering of half a dozen mothers trying to fill their days and navigate through all this. It was an amazing morning as I just held and listened and watched and chatted with this youngest man in our home. I don't want to be a better father; but these times show me how much richer my life is when I slip beneath the skin of these boys.
The Joy of Fatherhood I used to think being a proud father was about seeing your child excel, winning the game or being the best at something. It really has nothing to do with outcomes of a child's actions. A father's joy seems to come only when the father can get out of his own way enough to have magic with a son or daughter. With lives filled with so much noise and static, it takes a hushed mind and an open heart to be prepared enough to soak in what it means to know a child, if only for the briefest of moments. For some, maybe it is a vast reservoir to tap into again and again. For others, it is fleeting and confusing. And for some men, they know less about a father's joy than those without children.

What a blessing, to have three boys, to have children be so elastic and resilient as to overcome the mistakes, ignorance, and apathy of a father, to have a sparkle in each of those six eyes that look at me. My wife is having a great time away, I know. There is no way it is more special than these hundred hours as father to each of these three sons.


Blogger Jestocost said...

I hope there's at least a little farting, however.


5:18 PM  
Blogger Bloody P said...

"I too often think of them collectively rather than individually."

I never really realized it, but I do the same thing with my brood.

Thanks for making think about that. Seriously.


8:17 PM  
Blogger The Wife said...

Someone or something always has to make me teary-eyed in the day. Today, my friend, it is you. You are a good man. Your boys will benefit from your introspection, regardless of what you do with it.

And you are so right about things - isn't it amazing how resilient they are when we make mistakes, as long as they always know we'll be around.

11:51 PM  
Blogger CC said...

jestocost--that's a given!

Bloody P--I think it has to be one of the most common problems for fathers. I've found how important it is to planfully set aside individual time with each boy, but I still rarely do it unfortunately.

the wife--Yep, that's my goal in life. To make you cry! Always great to have you drop by, and hope you're doing well.

11:16 AM  
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