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Telling Secrets

faith, fatherhood, and culture


Friday, September 23, 2005

You forget to do certain things when you have a 2.5 year old boy and 1 month old twin girls. Little things like using Dapper Dan in the morning so that you don’t go to work with “fluffy hair” or moving the laundry from the washing machine to the dryer before the onesies and burp cloths start to mold. You forget big things too, like adding the twins to your health plan within the 31 day period. Most things you remember to do, but then the neighbor kid tells your son, “I’m going to chop your head off” and you completely lose track of where you were before you had to parent the miscreant.

Other important things slip on by and before you know it a month has passed. Things like talking to your wife. Angela and I stayed up until 12:30 last night just talking. We realized it had been at least two weeks since we actually had an honest-to-God conversation. Mostly an evening’s conversation goes something like this:

“Hi honey! I’m home.”
“How was your day?”
“It was fine. SOS. You know.”
“DAD! You home?”
“Hi Mo’. Yes I’m home.”
“You play outside for me?”
“Sure, I’d love to play outside with you. Let me just get your sister because she’s crying.”

And then,
“Ok, Malachi it’s time for nigh-night. Say nigh-night to daddy. Come on, say, ‘Nigh-night daddy! I love you!’”
“Come on, buddy. It’s time to go upstairs and read a story.”
“Nurse upstairs on bed?”
“No we did that at naptime. Do you want some rice milk instead in your special cup?”
“Well, say nigh-night to daddy.”
“Ssshhhh, your sisters are trying to sleep.”
“Waaaaahhhh waaaahhh waaahhhhh!”

An hour later,
“Hi honey, how did it go?”
“Ok. He was fussy but we talked about the day and sleeping all night like a big boy in his own bed and how if he needed to come sleep in our bed during the night he could do it without crying and screaming.”
“Oh dear. Well, Acacia wouldn’t stop crying until I let her suck on my thumb and Ameena is just starting to wake up. She’ll probably be hungry.”
“Yeah. What do you want to do tonight?”
“I don’t know. You?”
“I don’t know. I should probably go to bed soon.”
“Yeah, me too.”

On the other hand, life is pretty great. Despite not having a spare minute, the kids are wonderful. The girls smile a lot, especially Acacia. When I come back from work, or if she has been asleep for a while, I hold her and talk to her and she has those blank baby eyes that loll around until they lock onto my face. And then her mouth curves up slowly until it suddenly breaks into a big open mouth, toothless smile. Heart melting to say the least. One of my favorite things is to soothe them to sleep on my chest. There is something soporific about a baby sleeping on you. Everything goes kind of soft and there is nothing more important at that moment than the feel of her little chest heaving and the quick whispering sound of air through little nostrils. I love it!

Malachi has been a great big brother too. He often tries to soothe the girls when they cry:
“It’s ok. Sorry you’re upset. I hold her?”
“Sure. Sit here on the couch. Who do you have?”
“Nope that’s Ameena.”
“That’s right.”
And when her free flying hand hits him in the face, he pulls an offended look and tells her sternly, “No hitting!” Which of course she does again anyway which makes him a little upset and we have to assure him that she can’t help it.

And Angela is doing so well, in my opinion. It’s tough for her to have been housebound for a month. But we were imagining last night what it would have been like if we had the girls while we were still living on Zuni. Yikes! Talk about a nightmare! Her back hurts constantly from always holding at least one baby, but she maintains a good attitude about it all and is enjoying watching the kids grow.

The biggest thing we are trying to do at this stage is to remember how short this time of life really is. Most of our relationship with our kids will be as adults. So we try to grab what time we have with our little ones and to hold onto it for as long as we can.

  1. Anonymous Anonymous said:

    A great description of life indeed. It was nice to see you and the family this weekend. I'm sure after everyone left, having just the three children to deal with seemed quite manageable. It seems that all of life's riches are somehow tied to a struggle. I believe it is a necessary part of getting the blessing. We all are like Jacob who wrestle for a blessing and then revel in it's wonder while we limp home. Unless of coarse you were one of the fortunate ones who sowed a 58$ seed during the time-window of the Daystar telethon;they will get blessing, actually double portions appearantly, without dealing with life. Wackjob heretics who think they can double God aside, I think you and Angela are just the right kind of people who navigate through the barf crusted shirts, and midnight rescues from the boogy monster, and find the biggest blessing right in the middle of it. You know where to look, it's the redemption that has been served on a silver platter, only its topped with baby wipes, swaddling blankets, and frozen breast milk. I'm glad you two got to talk. Keven

  1. Anonymous Anonymous said:

    Caleb, just home from who knows how many days in the outback- no cell coverage this time. Barbara just had me read your latest blog. OH, how I remember the first days with you! Just like you, I used to get up and put you back to sleep on my chest in the rocker I still have, just because of those memories, in the spare bedroom. Before I glued it, it always had this wonderful little crunch that seemed to lull you to sleep. Many the days I'd come home from the rigs with your mom exhausted and me, the one who could go back to sleep at a monent's notice, able to sit those long colicky nights wondering about "Life the Universe and Everything" and how all this would be worked together for His good. Now I see that, indeed, you are worth it all.

    I am trying like crazy to line up replacements for whatever the rig schedule will be for the time you are up here. More and more I miss the chances of seeing you and your wonderful family. I have these great visions of me with Malachi long before you were even married (and now just beginning to understand the possibilities of the girls) teaching him the few things I know. Once apon a time, I had a picture, dogeared and scrunched, but now gone somewhere (but not in my mind) of a young grandpa sitting in a sailboat with his 6 or 7 year old grandson between his legs, teaching him knots or splicing or something arcane. The emotion remains so raw that I can never forget my continual reaction to it. I had it taped in my geologic office for years. I can only hope that I can be in your kids lives.

    I really appreciate the opportunities you are giveng me to be so, truely. I am not unaware of your efforts. Thank you so much for this. It really ties to the rocking chair and how a crazy, nomad like me could be blessed someone like you.

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