I am a teacher. This is summer. I am home. I know, I know, teachers have such a cushy job getting off at 3:30 and getting summers off. I won’t get into all of that here, but as most teachers I work hard and consider the summer “comp. time.”
I say all of this in order to “brag” about the fact that I have gotten to spend all three of my two-and-a-half year-old son’s summers with him. I call it our Daddy/Son Summers. I love it. It is not always relaxing, to say the least, but it is good and worth every minute of fun and fustration.
Before I continue, let me throw this in…from this point on in the blog I will be referring to my son as NB and my wife as LA (per LA’s request to leave their names out of it).
Okay, where was I. Oh yes. As a father, even early on, I realized that I was going to learn a lot more about myself and my relationship to God than I was ever going to be able to teach my little buddy NB. Summers have become almost a time of self-reflection as much as they have been quality time for me and the boy. Many a lesson has been learned through our relationship.
This is the story about one that happened this week. And it is a message that hit me like a thud to the back of the head…God likes to teach me that way A LOT.
Our daily routine this summer has usually boiled down to this: get up, eat, drive Mommy (LA) to work, find a “man-venture” to go on (usually the Zoo, park, or just stopping at various stores), home, lunch, nap, “learning time”, then pick up Mommy from work and spend the evenings together. Did you see that list? There is little to no daddy-down-time built in, except for during the nap. Nap time is my time to get things done or rest. Best case senario is that I am not tired and can actually do some things that need to get done (including grab a shower since that is not quite penciled into the formerly stated schedule).
The length of naps vary, but I can usually count on a minimum of 2 hours. This means I need to budget my time wisely. So if I want to rest a little while and get anything done (especially the shower that LA would prefer me to have each day), I need to keep a watchful eye on the ticking clock…and I need to be honest, I almost always choose to take a little bit (or a lot) of rest time during this alloted span.
Occasionally, NB’s sleeping schedule does not agree with mine. When this happens, I have to get creative. It has not been too often, but it has happened enough that I have had to start teaching him how to play in his room by himself. What I will do is go into his room, talk to him about needing him to stay and play, make sure he has plenty to play with or books to look at, and then listen closely to the monitor (or turn it way up if I am taking a shower).
The day that this story happens, NB did not seem real jazzed about this idea. He wanted to come out his room and hang out with Daddy. So, I talked to him a little longer and even gave him a special treat by having the dog stay in there with him and keep him company (you have no idea how much he LOVES that dog! I will have to write a blog post just about that someday). He seemed to get a big kick about that, so all seemed good to go. I told him I loved him and that I would not be long, and then reassured him that if he needed anything I would hear him through the monitor and be right there.
I proceded to prepare to take the required daily shower. Before I could move much past stepping into the bathroom I hear, “DADDDDDDY!” I wait a few seconds. Nothing. I took another step into the bathroom. “DADDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDY!” I rush to his room.
I get there, and he is just grinning at me. “What’s wrong, buddy,” I ask.
NB lifts his arm and points, “Ebow (elbow for those that do not speak two year-old). Bed hurt me. Bad bed.” He points to the footboard.
I go in an look…and of course see nothing. I talk with him for a second and figure out he bumped his elbow on the bed. I comfort him, scold the bed, and then encourage him to be careful. I again reassure him that I am just on the other side of the monitor, and then am off to attempt my shower.
This time, success. I am able to take a quick shower (we’re talking like five minutes here…I knew the boy was getting antsy, so I needed to try to just get as clean as I can in the shortest possible amount of time).
All seems peaceful in the Land of Two…until I am in the process of drying. There is a stirring. I hear talking. I assume he is talking to the dog. As I start to get dressed, it happens.
“DADDY!! ALKJGJDKGJ ADLGKJG DIGNDOITMG!!!!!! DADDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDY!!!!”
Okay, that middle part is not what he said, but I have no idea what the jibberish there was, so that is my interpretation.
I hurry to throw the rest of my clothes on. The whole time I am getting dressed the “daddy” and jibberish continues. Actually, it started to get kind of funny. It started to become clear that there was nothing really wrong and that he was just trying to get my attention. He got louder and louder and the talking became more and more random.
I stopped worrying and slowed down with my getting myself together. I was even able to make sure that I put on deodorant (something else that LA prefers me to do each day, as well). The yelling continued, but I knew everything was okay. He would have to learn to wait. He had everything that he needed and there was no imminent danger. He needed to learn to trust me.
I went to his room, and of course he was estatic to see me, but before we played I talked to him about not needing to yell to get my attention and how he needs to trust that Mommy and Daddy are aware of him and are looking out for him (the best you can do with a two year-old).
About the time that the yelling became funny over the monitor is when God smacked me in the back of the head. He spoke to my heart and said, “Dude, that is you. Why don’t you trust me? Why don’t you know that I hear you? Why don’t you think I am in control and will move when I need to move?”
This is all of us. We get anxious. We get worried. We doubt God. We don’t trust his timing. We think he forgets about us. We start to wonder if he is really there. We start lashing out. We scream and complain. We get caught up with the worries of this life and stop believing God has it all in his hands and he knows.
He is there. He is God. And he knows. He will be there when he needs to be. We need to trust that. Matthew 6:19-34 Be encouraged!
Oh, and for another perspective on this, please check out this post by my friend Bill Moore, “That Guy“.