Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Lowered Bar

The pastor at our church campus is a young guy.  He and his lovely wife, who snapped back into pre-pregnancy shape in something like 10 minutes (I like her anyway.  I do.  I do.  I like her anyway.), are new parents to an adorably chubby-cheeked baby girl.  I love it when our pastor carries her around and sometimes he brings the baby up on stage for one reason or another.  Today being Father's Day, he had her with him.

He described their night time routine to us.  He prays for his daughter's eternal life in the Lord every night and for God to help him and his wife be godly and good parents.  This larger point was not lost on me nor on Mr. Wonderful.  We were both teary as our pastor had all the dads stand and led them in a prayer and left them with a charge toward their children.

Mr. Wonderful's dad role is what gives him the capital in Wonderful.  The guy is a great, great dad.  This is indisputable.

Please don't take it as any slight to my pastor that his admonition toward prayer and his charge to the dads was not was caused my husband and I to have whispered conversation in the middle of church.  No, it was our pastor mentioning that bath time began the nightly routine for his daughter.  My normally reticent husband turned to me with wide eyes:

"Every night????"

"First born," I whispered back to him.

I guess we probably bathed our first little baby every night.  Honestly, I can't remember, but it seems like the type of thing a good first-time parent would do.  Or at least should do.  So I hope we did.

What I can tell you with absolute certainty is that that did not happen with our fifth baby.  Not because we love him any less, but along the way, one's sense of what is important or essential or--let's face it--logistically possible changes as a family gets larger.

Parenting is an evolution.  I guess it's an open question whether we're on an upward path in matters of hygiene, but Mr. Wonderful gets all the big stuff right.  Happy Father's Day, honey!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Awesome and Intense

These are the words my 13 year old used repeatedly last night when I had a few minutes to chat with him.  He'd just finished taking his first shower of our church's mission/service trip week.  It's Day 4.  Their last shower opportunity will be today (Wednesday) and then it is a long, rank haul til they arrive home on Saturday.

That fact alone makes me fervently praise God that I got the "easy" job of single parenting a 19 month old determined to leap off tall tables in a single bound, a five year old and a nine year old all week while my husband chaperones our two teens and 38 of their BFFs in Nashville.  I'd already heard from Mr. Wonderful how the boys' sleeping quarters smelled so body odorific, sweaty-teen foul that they taped my two sons' bars of Irish Spring soap to the AC unit to waft that chemically fresh scent into the room.  A friend and I joked that next year, along with having memorized the assigned Bible portion, possessing deodorant should be a non-negotiable requirement in order to board the bus.

My thankfulness continued to overflow when I heard how the van broke down an hour and fifteen minutes outside of their destination and how the adults had to form shuttles with the remaining vans to get the kids there.  I kissed my queen size bed's pillow when I was informed that another group's housing had fallen through so now there were double the number of kids sleeping at the church in Nashville with our kids.  I debated which of the double sinks in our bathroom to use in the morning while thinking of how the kids at the church were sharing two toilets amongst 30 boys.

I wondered how I had the incredible good sense to know within two months twenty one years ago that I wanted to hitch my wagon to the man who would report all these facts with a laconic, "It's fine.  We just need to be very flexible in our plans."

From my teen, I heard none of this.  His excitement leaped through the phone as he told me about all the homeless people they'd encountered as they went on prayer walks in the city, passing out toothpaste and new socks.  The woman who overflowed with joy in the Lord even though she had nothing. "I mean, NO-THING, Mom."  The newspaper written by the homeless and then sold by them as an alternative to outright begging.  The surly man who'd seen lots of Christians come through and didn't want to hear it, didn't want to hear it, just wanted the toothpaste.  "But I guess we can pray for him."  The homeless amputee who lived under a bridge and shared that he really was contemplating jumping off the bridge because his 'friends' had stolen everything he had from him while he slept.  "That was really intense, Mom.  But Mr. W (another chaperone) went to his van and gave the man his own under armour soccer shirt.  And now I hope that man might know that other people really care about him and it might change the way he thinks."

"Oh, and Mom, I just had the BEST shower ever."