Psalm 27:4 (NIV)Today was one of those bizarre days where I didn’t actually spend much time with my kids. Before work, only Jack was awake and he didn’t ask for help making breakfast. After work, Kristie’s sister stopped by, arriving a few minutes before I got home. So I hopped out of my car, started a fire in the grill and drove to the grocery store for ground beef and buns (and, somehow, another $70 worth of groceries). Then I came home and cooked, which meant we ate around 7. Some other friends came over and I was able to chat for a little while, but before long Charlie was acting sleepy so I took him upstairs to put him to bed. After haggling with Charlie over sleep, I cam back downstairs to see some intense family Wii time. When that ended Kelly helped the boys get ready for bed.
One thing I ask from the Lord,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
and to seek him in his temple.
So while it was a fairly normal day as far as Thursdays go, it was pretty weird to have none of the usual parenting responsibilities. There was the indirect stuff I’d have to do even without kids (work, empty the garbage, make dinner, unload the dishwasher), but aside from putting Charlie to sleep — which consists of holding him and watching “Jeopardy!” — I was otherwise disconnected. And while some days I want nothing more than for someone else to just come in and take over, I find an unexpected blip in the routine can be mildly confusing.
I’m not really complaining about the situation, it’s just more or less a confirmation of what I wrote a few days ago — I rely heavily on my routine. It provides comfort and direction. Although the more I think about it, the more it seems it’s not the routine itself — feeding the kids, helping with bath time, reading bedtime stories and so on — as it is how the routine helps me connect with the kids.
In the times we’ve traveled, either regular trips to see Kristie’s family or the occasional wild adventure for Thanksgiving or a wedding, the actual routines get interrupted, but the responsibilities remain. Eating continental breakfast in a hotel is a far cry from preparing the boys the same exact thing they ate for the last 72 mornings, but it still makes me feel like a dad. And since that’s how I see myself more than anything else, I need to keep feeding that part of me.
It’s different when I’m away from the kids entirely, because I’m able to adjust my expectations. As soon as I come home I fully realize how much I missed the regularity, but I don’t find myself crippled by a lack of the chance to do dad things for a few days every couple of months.
I suppose I haven’t said too much of substance here, and I’m not especially surprised that’s how it turned out. But some days are just different, slightly off course, and you can’t always figure out why. For me it’s something simple like not reading the same book about sharks I read every night for the last week and a half. But that kind of humdrum habit is exactly what I signed up for, and I’ve never regretted the decision.
A prayer for July 26:
Lord, thank you for the stability you have provided in my life. You are the rock on which everything is built, and from that foundation I am able to enjoy my home, my family, my work and my leisure. The sun rises, the sun sets, and day after day I am able to fulfill my calling as a parent because you have blessed me with so much goodness. I am not worthy of your grace, and I am ever thankful for your steadfast love. Amen.