Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A letter from Daddy to Grace & Jake

Written by Daddy to Grace & Jake for the 4th Birthday

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

4yrs Old

First, this is really my first authentic non sarcastic blog posting of more than 2 lines so forgive the choppiness and lack of flow. I have never written much, except in my journal to myself.

There are milestones we pass on the road of life that are very hard to describe. Adulthood is riddled with all kinds of surprises. Surprises that usually spring up right after declaring in my inner monologue that I am totally normal, things are going great and I have successfully maneuvered the obstacle course of life and now comfortably sit in the Captains Chair on cruise control. On May 1, 2006 I hit the brakes. The cruise control disengaged. The road ahead was in view. For the time being. But all of the pre-conceived notions I had about what the road was going to be like for me and Jenn were suddenly masked by a Tule-Fog.

The birth of my twins, Grace and Jacob, completely changed everything I thought I knew about......well, everything! I used to think I was tired. I used to think I was quite sane. I used to think everyone else just needed to rise to my level of understanding and discernment. I used to think Jenn was the noisiest human ever. I used to think I could handle having kids in stride, no alteration to my life necessary. Cause hey, it's me, James. The Wildenator. Mr. Easy Going. Mr. Gets along with everyone. Mr. Party-time. I used to think so many things that were/are not so. I used to think that basically, I was perfect. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

I remember that day. The birth day. The scheduled c-section. We were going to the Hospital. What could be so hard? We were gonna have 2 kids and we were gonna come home. No big deal. Notice, nothing is hard when I don't have to do it. Cause remember, I'm "James". I thought to myself, finally, we are going to have these kids. I would be able to see and touch them and bond with them as Jenn had for nearly 9months and everything would be fine. I would be able to sympathize and empathize with my wife on all levels. No worries. That would solve that gap. When they are hungry I will feed them. When they poop I will change them. Easy money. I felt good. I was very excited to finally meet them. I thought to myself, wow, this is a really grown up thing that is about to happen to us. Super. I was fine. I thought.

As people started trickling in to the hospital room, I suddenly shrank. I was getting very nervous. Very unsure. I didn't want anyone asking me how I felt because all of a sudden, I wasn't sure. I felt a bit nauseous. I felt like maybe I was about to give birth. Why was I so nervous? Jenn was the one getting split open. I had no problem with that. It wasn't me it was going to happen to. She was laughing, smiling for the camera and having a great time. Suddenly, my eyes felt like they were opening to the reality of what was about to happen.

We go in to the O.R. Now I actually feel ok for some reason. Maybe because I can deflect my emotions by calming Jenn as she gets gutted by the Doctor. I video tape the births with Liz, Jenns mom. 2:30pm, out comes Grace Elizabeth. My baby girl. My piglet. She is perfectly pink. Very fitting since that is her favorite color. Just ask her. She has a raspy, coarse voice and is crying and flailing. Hungry and cold no doubt. Probably stunned by the lights and the sensation of human hands holding her. Then, 1-minute later at 2:31pm out comes Jacob Alexander. My baby boy. My bubba. He is noticeably smaller. Not quite as pink but definitely as loud. He has these huge ruby red lips that look like a cartoonish exaggeration of Mick Jaggers. He is also crying, but his cry has a higher pitch and not so rasppy as his older sister.

Fast forward 4yrs.

Grace and Jacobs 4th birthday is here. The last 4yrs have been a whirlwind for me. In every sense of the word. Halfway through the 4yrs that we just fast-forwarded through, we welcomed our darling Caroline Marie, who is 24months younger than the twins. The joy these children have brought to our lives is immeasurable. So have the trials and learning experiences. I have seen myself transformed by the washing away of so much of my arrogant pride (unfortunately, not all of it yet; but hey, they're only 4 so there is plenty of time).

Fatherhood has exposed so many things I had sworn I had under control. My temper, my ability to be laid back, roll with the punches, hey no big deal. Basically, all of the necessary qualities of being a good parent. The character flaws that parenting exposes are humbling. They not only expose the flaws as a parent, but as a spouse. They expose qualities, positive and negative, related to everything about me. Me the husband. Me the son. Me the nephew. Me the friend. Me the employee. Me the voter. And then, ME! Me the Me! I eat the words and advice I gave to others before I knew better. I eat them with salt, pepper and some Habanero sauce, washed down with a blow torch. I do have a temper. I am not laid back. Little things are HUGE deals. WTF? I thought I had it figured out.

May 1, 2006 was the twins birthday. It was my re-birth day. I am now 4yrs old. They are 4yrs old. So far, they have aged, matured, learned and become better 4yr olds than I. It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks. They are the best teachers ever! The laughter, the yelling, the crying, the shots to the nuts 24/7, being puked on, pissed on, crapped on, smacked in the face as I sleep, kicked, punched, pulled and defied at every step of the way. And thats just the wife :~) (couldn't resist some sarcasm). The one liners, the tantrums, the stubbornness, the mess. Holy Mackerel, the messes. The laundry, the dishes the peeing in the beds. The pooping in the baths. The sippy cups. The diapers. The diapers. I forgot to mention the diapers I think. The loss of sleep. The stress of finances. The toll on my relationship with my Jenn. The fighting, the biting, the breaking, the ripping, the tearing, the tattling, the constant requests the second you sit down. A lot of these things playing out multiple times per day. Caroline, almost 2yrs old being cast into the mix and voila. You have a man brought to his knees. (my wife takes the brunt of most of this btw, just to be clear. not sure how she does it with such grace)

Sometimes, in stark contrast to how I felt in the opening paragraph, I feel like I am the only INSANE person on earth. Unable to deal with the demands of fatherhood. Unable to reserve an ounce of compassion for my wife. Unable to roll with the fast pace and changing routines. Unable to be a great employee. Instead, being brought to my knees is a positive I have decided. I have risen this morning and knelt before God. I thank you God for giving me this wonderful family. I thank you for entrusting me with their care, nurturing and health. I thank you for teaching me through these children. For allowing me to experience all of these blessings and the hardships that come with them.

I think about what my life was like before. What I was like before and I am wondering, what on earth would I be doing right now without all of these gifts? I would have continued on a selfish and arrogant path. Learning few, if any of these hard lessons. Taking for granted and criticizing others experiences with no real knowledge or experience of my own. No idea of what real and true love is and can be. There are a lot of things listed above that could be construed as negative. They are not necessarily. They are life. They are my life. They are what makes this experience so unique and so rewarding. The opportunity to grow, to live for something larger than myself and to care for, guide and simultaneously come under their submission.

Some days, I am up and some days I am down. I make a lot of mistakes as a father and a husband. A lot! But my wife and kids love me anyway. Despite the fact. That is pure love. That Agape love that God has for us even while watching us fumble through life. That love that I am learning to have that I never thought possible.

There are only 4 things I know are not mistakes. My marriage to my wife. And my 3 kids. 2 of whom, I will share a 4th birthday with. Grace and Jacob. You are the lights of my life. I am honored to be your father. Thank you for everything you have taught me and continue to teach me through your lives.

Happy 4th Birthday to you, Grace and Jacob. And to me, for that matter.

I love you,


I posted the link to his blog posting earlier, but wanted to copy the written words so that when I turn this all into a memory book, the words will be there ;)

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