I sigh my own sighs. Not out of frustration but contentment. I look at my husband of just over 8 years and my heart smiles wide. I remember a time when I was pregnant with our first baby and he admitted that he had no idea how to be a good dad. You're writing notes to your unborn child, I thought, you already are a good dad.
|Jeremiah and Daddy having a late-night chat|
And all these years later, his worries that he's still not quite getting it right serve as a reminder to me to be gentle, loving; to encourage him down the road which he finds incredibly scary and frightening. Not because I don't find it the same, but because I do.
We are in this journey together. Over the years, we have learned much about the art of working together as a team to bring our children up in a godly home. Early in our marriage, it was difficult to be selfless; always passing a child to the other one in exasperation and accusation. You never hold her! Why can't you just take her for once? It was a constant back and forth of who should take what responsibility when. A few years ago I wrote this post about the "parenting dance," and how one fateful night we were destined to finally get it right, in the midst of several puking children, loads of laundry and the minimizing of our selfishness. I'm blessed to say that even since then, we've grown ever-closer and better in-step with each other as the parenting dance has turned into the marathon that raising children together is destined to become for people like us.
It's times like this night that bind two people together. Deepening a relationship by having and raising children together has a way of doing that. A husband and a wife and the middle of the night, tasting the essence of what marriage is, what parenting is. Opening ourselves up to the challenges and changes new life creates. Rocking and sighing and listening - finally - to the rhythmic breathing of a tiny infant sleeping against one's neck, and the sound of two hearts growing closer. Somehow, in the midst of it all, in the years that pass, as you allow the understanding to seep in, the experience to build, you finally get the inkling that yes, perhaps you are a good parent after all. A good partner in life. You rise above the human tendencies to do for self, and submit to the call to do for someone else, to do what God asks of you. In this case, not just for a tired mama of five babies, but a son; a young baby who desperately needs to know not just his mama's scent and strength and love, but his daddy's as well. Lucky boy. And lucky me!
"[He will] turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers..." (Malachi 3:24 NAB)