How I loved pre-child Saturdays! After five days working in the office, I found it almost ambrosial to sleep in late, enjoy a leisurely breakfast and share long conversations with my wife. “Enjoy it while you can,” my old college roommate told me not long after he had his second kid. “That stuff all goes away when you have a small person screaming for piggyback rides at 6 a.m.” I shrugged the comment off. I would train my wee ones to respect Mommy and Daddy’s personal time. Boundaries are a necessary blessing. And quietness is next to godliness, of course.
Man, could I have been any more naïve?
My former roommate was wrong on only one point: No one clambers up onto my shoulders at dawn. Instead, early morning finds my brood carping for refreshment. “Daddy, I want my miiiiiiiilk!” the oldest proclaims, while the baby simply screams. Thus begins yet another day of dropped dishes, rejected meals, leaky diapers, inexplicable tantrums, consistent interruptions, the inevitable upending of anything arranged in an orderly manner, and interminable conversations about the wonder, the majesty — nay, the glory — of Thomas the Tank Engine. Can I be excused for sometimes wishing that I worked weekends?
Actually, no, I don’t think I can be. A while back, Sam posted a Paul Tripp quote that reminds us how God uses our children to grow both their holiness and ours. “[God has put your children] in a family of faith, and in relentless grace he will reveal their need to you again and again so that you can be his tool of awareness, conviction, repentance, faith, and change,” Tripp states. “And because in these moments he asks you to forsake your agenda for his, this opportunity of grace is not just for your children, it’s for you as well.” Well said. My kids constantly remind me of my need to conform even more to the law of Christ. But there’s another reason why I should never grow overly irritated with their charming foibles.
Recently, I found myself in the waiting room of a very specialized doctor after some anomalous test results. The examination revealed that, as far as we can tell, I’m pretty much okay. But a lot of the people waiting with me weren’t. You could tell it by looking at them. One particular gentleman struck up a conversation with me about his daughter. In a blink, he unfurled fourteen years worth of portraits from his wallet. “It took me a long time to collect all these, but it sure doesn’t feel like it,” he said. “Enjoy them. It goes by fast.”
Life certainly does. We are a breath and a shadow, a vapor fast vanishing, a bloom that the midday sun smites. The very form of this world is passing away, and the youthful faults of our offspring go with it. Myself, I’m not going to mourn those carefree Saturdays in which I once delighted. After all, there are only 940 Saturdays from a child’s first breath until the day he turns eighteen, and I plan to enjoy each and every one. I know I have far fewer left than I realize.
(Picture: CC 2010 by aha42 | tehaha)