Thursday, October 10, 2013

Lucky (times a gagillion)

I’ve never considered myself to be a really lucky guy, at least in classic terms.  I have been fortunate to have things come into alignment for me on a number of occasions and I have been blessed, but I rarely “win the lottery” in the luckiness department.  At least, I didn’t think so (or remember so), until tonight.

Perspective check: I have 4 kids.  Two boys and two girls.  The boys are 16 and 12.  The girls are 14 and 10.  One girl is pushing pure hormones through her veins at all times.  The other is a sulky mess, most of the time.  The other dads out there are hopefully feeling my pain?

Tonight was the typical crazy busy Thursday evening that we experience every week.  Between all four kids, we had someone that needed to be somewhere or be picked up from something approximately every 20 minutes from 3:40 pm until 9pm.  We had most of us at the supper table for at best a 10 minute overlap at any one time.  While my wife and I traded taking turns going out to collect or deliver this kid or that to each subsequent, we worked on the dishes with Thing #4 and made a couple of batches of cookies.

I was working on cookie batch #2 (chocolate chip skor bit, in case you were wondering), while my wife helped Thing #4 take her shower (under duress – nothing new there).  Through the walls, I heard a question that I have heard a number of times these days from Thing #4.  What did you want to be when you grew up?  I personally have dodged answering this question, as I never really have a good answer and frankly never gave it a great deal of thought.  But my wife has thought of everything (probably twice).  I heard her respond calmly and quietly, “Well, I wanted to be a teacher, an opera singer, a writer, and actress” among other things.  I can’t recall her saying all of those before.  But rather than denigrate herself and her role as a stay at home mom (which can be typical) and say, “but I didn’t do any of those things”, she blew my mind with the next sentence.  She said “I got to be every one of those things.  I teach kids every day, I sing all the time, I write.  I am sure that she continued at this point, but I didn’t hear any more.  I was overwhelmed by a tremendous feeling of gratitude and that feeling of “winning the lottery”. 

I remembered a similar feeling that came to me about 18 or so years ago.  As a single man, I had been prayerfully requesting major divine intervention to find the woman that would make me happy, that would fill in my many shortcomings and balance me out.  Shortly after that, I met Gillian.  We clicked on the normal levels, I suppose and things moved ahead.  However, I remember that a couple of months after I met Gillian I looked back and could see that God had given me more that I’d ever imagined I needed (or deserved).  I’d “won the lottery”.

You’ll forgive my weak or deficient gambling-related metaphors.  I’m not a gambler.  But my wife is like an eternal jackpot.  She just keeps coming in a winner.  I’m the first to admit that I am not the best dad.  I am not home as much as I should be, and am often mentally absent when I am physically there.  I am clueless when it comes to most of what my kids are doing (although I try and compensate by overreacting when I do figure stuff out), although sometimes I will admit I try and stay clueless (see above comments about 14 year old daughters).  I can’t help with any of the homework (I blame the kids – they don’t take any subjects that I know anything about currently) and I would rather pluck myself bald all over than try and sort out why this girl did this to that girl or figure out any type of math equation.

But the beautiful thing is, I don’t have to.  Everywhere I am weak, my wife isn’t.  Together, we get the job done (although I am dead weight sometimes).

My wife could have been anything professionally.  As my dear mother would say “she is smarter than the average bear” (that is a Yogi Bear reference, I think) and can really do pretty much everything (except talk to strangers or idiots on the phone).  But she puts everything she has into our home.  Could we use a few more bucks?  Sure.  But could our kids be the great, unique and talented people that they are if they didn’t have their mom standing nearby and available to help out, lead out, guide, cajole, lift up, smack down or love them, no matter what?  Nope.  I don’t think so. 

Am I lucky?  You bet.  Glad I remembered that tonight.

Thanks for listening.  I just had to share.

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