As a young Dad, I thought my wife had it easy. She stayed home with our little darlings as I worked my tail off at the office. Then our third child came along, and as my wife recovered in the hospital, I stayed home with the other two.
They woke me up bright and early.
“Whaaat? Where are we? Who are you? What time is it?”
It was 7AM. I had slept 4 hours.
Breakfast time. Sweet one-year-old Rachael smiled at me as she deposited her bowl of soggy Cheerios on the floor. Three-year-old Stephen dropped his bread jam-side down, picked it up, and promptly stuck it to the stereo.
“Let’s go shopping,” I said. We headed for the car. “Daddy!” said Stephen, looking down. “Oh, you should likely wear clothes,” I said. In the grocery store, the kids wanted stuff. Strapped in their car seats they screamed. Without a good set of earplugs, a trip to the zoo would be impossible. By nightfall, I was exhausted, and the dishes in the sink looked like Mt. Everest.
The next day dawned early. Again. Why don’t kids just sleep half the morning? I did. In high school.
Following another adventuresome breakfast, I instructed my kids to play quietly while Daddy rested on the living room floor. Dads in this position should keep their eyes open. Mine were closed. Rachel sat down right on my head, diaper first.
Nightfall brought with it the promise of much-needed sleep. But it was not to be. The house was a disaster. Maybe I should just light it on fire, I thought. Rachael wouldn’t go to sleep. Daddy couldn’t find her pacifier. And he was being punished. I looked everywhere. And finally found it in the heat vent. When I brought it to her, she was fast asleep.
“What does Jesus look like?” asked Stephen. This wasn’t the time. Couldn’t he see Daddy was tired? Questions like this were to be asked after church. I lay down beside him.
“When will Mommy come home?”
“Soon,” I answered. “A few more days.” Then I found myself pouring my heart out to a three-year-old. “I thought Mommy’s job was easy. It’s not. Would you like to make beds, wash clothes, make meals, clean the house, change diapers?”
He screwed up his little nose.
“I’m thankful for Mommy,” I continued.
He nodded. “Me too. She loves Jesus,” he said.
“Let’s thank Him for her.” So, we did.
When I looked over at Stephen, he was sound asleep.
On my way to bed, I looked into Rachel’s room. She was standing up in her crib smiling. And looking for her soother.