Alternative title: When It Rains, It Pours.
I have a bad habit of taking pictures of myself like this at weddings. Just thought I'd share my current self portrait. It seems like a fitting picture for this Daddy Life post - a bit of an update, rehash, but also a self examination of where I'm at this spring as the Life rolls every onward!
It was a busy month. Sometimes living this Life means exotic travel to faraway places like the Jersey Shore and the Atlanta Airport. We took the kids on vacation to Florida to see their great-grandmother and learn to swim in her pool. Success on both fronts. Following this, Margaret and Rich had a fantastic wedding in the Garden State, and we did our job by getting no sleep and missing our children. A win win!
What have I learned about my children this spring? I've struggled with this one thought that keeps pestering me. I love to take my kids out into the world and show them things. And they are happier staying home. This isn't always true, but I have learned to temper my ambitions for adventures and action. Children really are creatures of habit, right? How do I reconcile this? By providing BOTH the routine and comfort of home with the spice and challenge of adventure. And then I have to remember something else. When everyone is crying, uncomfortable, fighting, whining, hungry, and willful, I MIGHT NOT BE HAVING A VERY GOOD TIME. But chances are, they won't remember it that way.
I see my role as that of the shepherd. My job is to shepherd everyone along, give them food and clothes and opportunities for challenge, and expression, and building self-esteem, and becoming people. I do this for Linden, too, in a different way. I shepherd her along, a little less willingly (on my part), but I send her on her way with a few things she needs to keep the flock together. This is the essence of the Daddy Life. We don't all have to get everything we need, but we all have to have some of what we need. Or the whole thing falls apart. Ezekiel 25:17. I'm trying. I'm trying real hard here, Ringo.
Old House, New House
The new house off of Patton Road in SW Portland has been dubbed NEW HOUSE, by the kids. I don't think they remember much about OLD HOUSE, but it doesn't matter because we sold OLD HOUSE, aka FAIRVIEW to a nice young couple this month. Not a moment too soon.
The kids are exploding to fill the space of New House, into the garden with watering cans, upstairs and downstairs, all over the driveway, and into the creek. They love it here, and I love it here. The weather turned to beautiful this week, and we throw open the doors and spill out into the outdoors. Two raccoons came with the house, and I can't tell if they are residents or just neighbors. The landscaping is blooming, the weeds are growing, the garden is sprouting, and I bought a lawnmower. Twenty years we'll be in this house. Nineteen and two thirds to go.
- My running continues, somewhere between not enough and too much. I've been training for a one mile race, which is TODAY. Wish me luck! I'm hoping to run under 5 minutes. The real goal is to continue running without injury.
- My weight is up, and the liquor cabinet is looking empty. These might be related, but I think it has more to do a lifestyle in which I am home all the time, therefore I cook large meals for my family, therefore I eat these meals several times a day. It's a glutton's dream come true.
- The New House has afforded many more opportunities for small house projects, and I have developed a new strategy for productivity. Fifteen minutes. Anything I can do in fifteen minutes is fair game, during the child-caring hours. Which usually means anytime during the day. You'd be surprised what happens when you chunk up a project into small pieces.
- Chickens. The HOA in our new neighborhood specifically forbids poultry. But my mother is a lukewarm enthusiast of backyard chicken raising. It seems like forces are converging to make a small flock of chickens appear at her house on Salmon Creek sometime next month. So I've undertaken the design and construction of a small coop for her. Any advice is much appreciated.
I think I'm moving from a philosophy that valued peak experiences into something more serene. Does this just come with age? I seem to need less of the heights and troughs, and more of the daily joys that come along with living the Daddy Life. Lord knows there is enough drama around here.
All the best to you, my three readers! Keep on keeping it on!