A father’s broken heart

February 25, 2006

I am extremely fortunate in my current job situation.  Although I aspire to return to vocational ministry in the future, I am enjoying my sabbatical from ministry and my tent-making.  My current form of ten-making finds me in the role of software developer.  The company that employs me is a global corporation with clients across 6 continents (does anyone have clients on all 7?).  The company to which they have contracted me is in Dayton, OH.  Although the latter company is within an hours drive of my house; I don’t work there.  I work here.

My job affords me the privilege of working out of my home office.  There were concerns (of my own) at one point that I would not get much work done; however, I have come to realize that I am much more disciplined than I gave myself credit.  I put in at least a minimum of 8 hours work every day (I’m salaried).  There are many “perks” that come with this as well, not the least of which is the absence of commute.  My greatest joy under these circumstances is that I am able to see my kids grow up.  It is not that I simply come home to them each evening, but I am at home with them each day.

[All of the above has been to lay the foundation for the anecdote below.]

Last night, my daughter fell ill (she vomitted once but also showed other signs of viral infection).  We were concerned that when we put her to bed that it was going to be a long night.  However, God saw fit to give her adequate rest.  I woke up this morning around 5:30, and could not go back to sleep.  So, I came up to my office to read and study.  Around 7:30, Annie woke up, and as is her habit, she came to see me.  Typically, I would already have started the day’s task of my occupation, but with today being a Saturday, my current activities were personal.

She appeared at my office door, and I asked her (as is my habit) if she wanted me to hold her.  Each morning I hold her for a minute and tell her I love her, before I help her get situated for the morning as I return to “work.”  She came over and I picked her 3-year-old body up and sat her in my lap.  I held her close and asked if she was feeling better as I told her I loved her.  She so sweetly and innocently replied to me, “Daddy, please don’t put me down and tell me to go somewhere else” [insert knife and begin twisting].  “From the mouth of babes….”  The truth of this statement lies in the fact that she will come to me many times in the day in which the ritual is repeated that I hold her for a minute, but then explain to her that I must get back to work.

My children do not know how fortunate they are that both their mother and I are home with them all day long, even if much of my day is secluded to my home office (but my door remains as open as possible).  I hope that I never put work over holding my daughter when she really needs me.

“Sweetheart, I’m sorry if I have told you that before.”

“You told me that yesterday.” [Although this is likely accurate, her 37-month old mind equates “yesterday” to anything that has occurred in the recent past.]

“Annie, some days Daddy [what is the obsession with parents referring to themselves in 3rd person?] has to work, but I don’t have to work today.  Do you want me to carry you into the family room and watch a movie with you?” 

“Yes.”

I have learned a great deal about love in these past 3 years of fatherhood.  It is most certainly a different kind of love than that between a husband and wife.  I have grown to understand better how God loves me, His child.  I am so thankful that He has never held me for a minute or two, only to say “now go somewhere else.”

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One Response to “A father’s broken heart”

  1. Mom said

    When I got to this blog, I thought you were going to tell the story of Annie throwing the last of her medicine in the sink, and your having to reprimand her while she was so sick.

    It is true, no one can break your heart like your child. Of course, the more we love someone the more they can hurt us.

    I was just sharing that this week with some of the camp kids who hang out at the house. Muri announced, “I love moms. There is just something about moms that I love.” I told her that moms love their kids, too, and that there is a lot of truth in the fact that our kids really can never understand how much we love them until they have kids of their own.

    I hope that you will think about that often. When you feel your child tugging at your heartstrings, realize how much I love you and your brother. It doesn’t change just because they are older and grown.

    All that to say, son, “I love you dearly.” Mom

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