10 years ago today, I became a father.
10 years ago today, I held a baby boy in my arms while I watched the Chicago Cubs on T.V.
I wondered whether any of it was real?
Two days later I drove us all home. I could not believe the people in charge allowed us to leave, but they did. And, for some reason the ten minute drive to our house took twenty minutes.
A day later we went back to the doctor’s office and forgot to bring diapers. Our newborn then did what newborns do.
We learned our lesson then and have been learning everyday since.
Six weeks later Starbucks reported its fiscal Q4 results for 2011 were up significantly. Coincidence?
Over the years, God blessed us, and our son, with two wonderful siblings, another boy and a princess, or at least that is what she tells us she is these days. And she will always be one in my eyes.
As Will celebrates his tenth birthday today, I could not be prouder of the man he is becoming. Much to the credit of his mother, Will has taken on responsibility of many of the household duties these days. I have observed that this is what leaders do: they pass on authority to others and let them develop. Will is one who his siblings follow because he is gentle, kind, and loving. I have learned much from observing him. In fact, I sometimes follow his lead.
The scariest moment came when he broke his arm for the second time in a matter of months. Weeks later we were at a doctor’s appointment at Lurie Children’s Hospital ruling out all the scary things. By the grace of God, none applied. Years later I can attest God has protected Will in ways that I cannot adequately describe. May the Lord protect him these next ten years in the same fashion.
I also realize, all-too-well with friends close to us, that not all have the same experience as we did. Our friends’ scary moment led to an even scarier diagnosis, a battle, and the loss, at least in this life, of a little girl. They have courageously proclaimed God’s goodness despite the brokenness of this world, a brokenness they have felt all too well. As I continue to mourn with them, I am reminded to take no moment for granted.
While the last paragraph may feel out of place, the reality is that it is not. If parenting has taught me anything, it is that there is no single path in life and you have control over virtually nothing. All amounts of goodness, tragedy, and everything in between are present in this today broken, someday perfect, world. This is the world and everything in it.
I vividly remember one day growing up playing outside from sun-up to sun-down with my best friend at the time. We must have been around Will’s age now. We played everything from football to baseball, and closed the day going fishing. The Fall sun was radiant as it began to go down, and I vividly remember longing for that day to never end.
But, life does not work that way does it?
Many of those moments have since come and gone. And I suppose if I were to compare Will’s childhood to that day, his time is already in the early afternoon. God willing, his life has many days left, but his childhood’s “day” is already waning. There is a part of me sad about that. But, just like I had to accept the nighttime those many years ago, I have to accept that Will is going to leave the house one day. And that day will be a good day, despite the sadness I will most assuredly feel and the tears that I will probably shed.
In the interim, I am going to continue hugging him every night before he goes to bed. Especially when he starts to hate it in his teen years. I might just hold on a little longer then. My mom did that to me after all. And like most things, she was right in doing so.
I know that my readers come here to learn about personal development and leadership. So, here is the best advice I can give on both…
Hug your kids.
Hug your spouse.
Get that right, and you will always be someone worth following.
Cherish life and celebrate each moment.
Happy Birthday, Will.
I love you more than words can tell.