Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day - 2008

Well, tomorrow is the last day of our week here in Louisiana with our extended family. It's amazing how fast the days go by. Our hometowns of Bossier City & Shreveport resemble less and less of what they did back in the days of our youth, but that's OK. They're growing rapidly and that's a good thing.

We've lived apart from our families for over eight years now. When we come back home or when our family members come see us in Georgia, the few days we spend together are always so precious because that time is "it". There's no "I'll see you next week." We usually say goodbye knowing that it's going to be quite a while before we see each other again. That's just the way our lives are right now. The frequency is kind of sparse, but the quality of our relationships has really strengthened through these circumstances.

Tonight, our three oldest kids are staying with their cousins in Haughton. I'm curious to find out what time they actually go to sleep tonight. Our youngest stayed back with me because he'd probably present more challenges than my sister and her husband would care to take-on right now. He got a little upset while they were leaving for the slumber party, but once I whispered in his ear how much I wanted him to be with me, he quickly calmed down and led me to his toys so we could play.

I fed him a spaghetti dinner followed by some remaining birthday cake (I turned 34 today), we played some more, I prompted him to go potty a few times, and then I eventually got him in his PJ's for bedtime. Tonight, it was him alone that would be sleeping in my parents' extra bedroom. No brothers or sister to accompany him in the night. We turned off the lamp and then I sang a few Christmas carols to him. He doesn't know the words, but he was sure trying to sing with me during those last syllables of each line. Hearing his little voice sing those notes was overwhelming to me. I cherish these moments . . . the kind of moments when God reminds me of the purity in the hearts of my children. (The kind of purity I should have in mine) Yes, they're crazy and disobedient at times, but the true essence of their purpose and intent is to love.

When I stopped singing, he began whispering to me. He just turned 3 and I still can't really understand much of what he says, but nonetheless, he whispered a ton of things to me and I bet they were ALL wonderful ideas. He accepted the fact that I had to leave him so that he could go to sleep. We prayed our bedtime prayer, said night-night, and I left him there. One day our relationship will be much different, but for now, I'm just savoring the sweet simple moments like this. Thanksgiving is year-round for me. I don't deserve any of my blessings, which is why I try to always give thanks to God for what I do have.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My Kids

I've been a dad for almost ten years. When Hannah first came into view that perfect day on February 11th, 1999, my first words were, "She's so beautiful." To this day, I have to refrain from saying that to her face too much because then she may become what most people refer to as "stuck up." But I assure you, I keep her well-grounded and humble.

The reason I'm writing today is because this morning as I was making my coffee, I came to a realization that my life is so blessed by my kids. I can honestly observe them living their little lives and then change my life to be better because of the lessons they've taught me. I'm their example to follow in many ways, but even more-so, they are examples for me to follow. I know there will likely come a day when they will test the boundaries and present a real parenting challenge to me, but I'm confident that the love we've established will keep them always aware that I'm in their hearts at all times. It's not my wrath that will keep them from plunging into horrible decisions, but rather my love and trust in them.

I ask that you pray for parents all across the world to love their children. And also, I ask for you to pray for those "to be" parents that may be having a difficult time conceiving. I don't know why I've been blessed with four wonderful kids, but one thing is for sure, I do not and will not take it for granted. If I was to die this very day, I will have already obtained such an awesome quality of life because of my kids and my wife.