It’s 6:23AM. It’s raining. It’s slapping the windows, it must be raining hard. Sam is “sleeping”. She’s 8.78 months pregnant now. It’s questionable if she ever sleeps. I see the clock at 1, 2 or 4 in the morning sometimes and she’s trying to get comfortable. Sleeping with a bowling ball in your belly is challenging.
Our 4 children are still sleeping. Besides the rain on the windows all I can hear is the whooo of the ceiling fan. The quiet is a blanket that I cozy under.
There is magic built into the day because it’s the last day of school. Our morning is planned; we have a kindergarten pancake breakfast and graduation at 9AM and a 3rd grade board game party at 11:45. Jack (our 3rd grader) made a Boise State Bronco’s football stadium board game for us to play.
Having kids and a family is comprehensively consuming. It snuck up on me with a fifteen-year approach (Sam and I were married in 1995).
I was a young colt once; fancy-free, quick, giddy, wide-eyed, and silly. Now I am a fully loaded plow horse; solid, heavy, strained and fatigued.
A couple of days ago I watched Sam. She was doing dishes at the sink in the kitchen. Grace (our 2-year-old) had a handful of Sams pants and was twisting around on the floor begging for a snack. Lily was kneeling on a bar stool whining to Sam about how much she misses of her old friends in California. Bailey was in the adjacent room on the sofa exhausting explosions of complaints about her chicken pox. I was on my way to ask her opinion about a business decision I’d made. I stopped before she saw me and just observed the situation.
My mind called up old memories – 1997 – we were two-years married. We had a Honda Civic that we drove all over Southern California. Sam was forbidden to sleep while I drove because I’d fall asleep too. We drove to LA, San Diego, Central Coast and Ventura. I have photos of Sam with her foot up on the dash looking out the passenger window. We’d talk about our future. We wanted at least 5 kids. Sam wanted a house with a big yard and chickens. I wanted the kids to read a lot and play musical instruments and do art. We’d talk about the future like it was a fictional reality. It seemed a million miles away.
I watched Grace tugging on her pants and thought of days in our apartment when Sam would be leaning against the kitchen sink in Santa Barbara sipping water while I photographed her or tried to make her laugh by dancing towards her.
I thought “This is the same woman I married. This is the same Sam that I had to keep awake while we drove so I’d stay awake.” Things have changed so much. It amazed me.
We’re living the future we planned. 5 kids, house, yard (no chickens). Our plan is underway, it’s happening.
We planned it but nothing could have prepared me for the job of having a family. Having little children rely on you is indescribable. It stirs feelings, primal feelings, that are powerful. Provide – Protect – Support- Provide – Protect – Support – Provide – Protect – Support.
It’s comprehensively phenomenal. It’s comprehensively gratifying. It’s comprehensively humbling.
I love my life. It’s complex, furious, scary, sweet, tender, surprising, speedy, harrowing, visceral, risky, engaging, beautiful and full. I love it.
I have five kids. Four girls call me daddy. What’s more sacred then that? I have a son who calls me daddy. I shrink just to think of it. I’d give my last ounce of everything for them.
It’s just how I feel.