Throughout the year I have posted moments of fatherhood, both insightful and humorous, on the Book of Faces. Many have suggested that these become their own blog about fatherhood. This is a good idea, but I already have a blog! And so with the kind of regularity that you've come to expect from any J-Blog series, I introduce you to TWINSANITY: A look into the lifestyle of a father of twins. Laugh along and enjoy!
For the first 5 months of my boy's existence, I felt a good bit like and absentee father. I was working a full time job. I was trying to be ordained in the Presbyterian Church. I was studying at the seminary. I was over committed. The majority of the time that I spent with the boys was late at night, offering bottles to a semi-awake child from a semi-awake father. Sarah would text me throughout the days and tell me all the awesome things the boys were learning to do. Josh smiled for the first time. Julian discovered the fuzzy dogs in our house. The dogs learned that both boys taste delicious and are deserving of a tremendous licking. And I missed it all.
When I did get time alone with the boys, it was always super frustrating because they were always super fussy. Sarah would tell me about these magical kids that never stopped giggling, never stopped smiling, always made her laugh. I wondered if she was switching the kids out each night when it was my turn to watch them. They would cry and scream and fuss and kick, and that usually led to me crying and screaming and fussing and kicking. It was an extra layer of stress in an already way-too-stressful season.
When seminary came to a close, almost immediately I had an entire day with the boys. And it was marvelous! They were totally content. They were all smiles. They were giggling. They were delightful. We had plenty of adventures. We took a trip to my parents. We went to the mall. We hung out in the Starbucks. Through it all, there was no fuss.
As we came home that night and I was reflecting on what was different, it occurred to me what should have been obvious all along. I was finally present with the boys. Sarah and I noticed quickly that the boys pick up quickly on our general attitudes. I'm convinced that even at 5 months of age, these boys could tell I wasn't giving them 100% of me. I was somewhere else. I was here, but in my head I was writing the next paper. I was feeding them, but in my head I was reflecting on the work that awaited me the next morning. I was here, but I wasn't here. When I could set aside all the distractions, and have a day where these two beautiful dudes were my sole point of focus, we had a great day. That can't possibly be a coincidence.
This summer I'm off of everything. I have no more school to go to. I have a sabbatical from work at Westminster. I get to be...present. But the tricky part will be when things fire back up in the fall. Of course I will have stressful days. Of course there will be times my mind wants to wander. Of course I will have moments where I am here...but I'm not here. My hope and prayer is that the lessons of this seasons will spark something new in me. My hope is that when I am with my boys, I am 100% with my boys. My hope is that I will train myself to be disciplined enough to intentionally be with them when I am with them. And my hope is that they will continue to see the value in a father is with them when he is with them.
And of course, I hope the same for you!