Thursday, October 15, 2009

Half a Lifetime Ago

Half a lifetime ago I graduated from high school and wandered down to St. Olaf in Northfield. I left behind 47 classmates who also went on to college or work. Today I reconnected with one of them.

How do you put 18 years into an hour? That's what Nate and I tried to do today -- to learn about each other's personal and professional lives. To see what happened to two kids growing up in southern Minnesota in the 1980s and 90s.

I think the best part of an experience like this is to see the maturity that has developed since those days when our scalps were full but our brains empty -- not empty of facts, but empty of experience in making good judgments. Maturity is its own reward. You may not enjoy the circumstances you face, but you can face them with a heart warmed by Christ's love and a mind seasoned by those decisions you made which weren't so great.

So I had a good time chatting, learning, and growing. I'm hopeful that the years ahead will contain more of these types of meetings. You can't go home, but you can reminisce about it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Doesn't Get Any Easier

Run, run, run. I am the hamster on the wheel.

My wife has her own wheel right now, too.

Rest first or study first? I don't know.

At least all the children minus Evan are in bed.

Evan is at scouts.
I am at home.
My paperwork calls me.
I ignore it.
This isn't haiku, but it is lyrical.
I think.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

You like me! You really like me!

When my first son was born, I was terrified.
When my second son was born, I was amazed.
When my third son was born, I was amused. Oh, look, another one. How quaint.

When my daughter was born, I was ecstatic. Thank God! We finally got a girl.

In the ensuing years of parenting, I discovered that the boys took to me pretty much on sight. Something in their little self-wiring knew that they were supposed to identify with Dad, and since Dad was present, identify they did. Furthermore, they had to identify with me since there was always another baby filling Mom's lap. This "connecting with Dad" thing really surprised me, as I was sure I was going to be a failure at raising and leading boys. Quite the contrary. They trust that I know what I'm doing and model themselves wholeheartedly after my ways. Suckers.

The girl bucked the entire system, spending her first two and a half years looking at me as a cross between furniture and cat yaack. Even in a pinch, Daddy usually wasn't good enough. It annoyed me to no end, since I've changed hundreds of diapers, read hundreds of stories, and gotten plenty of children ready for bed.

Over the past three months, Avery has finally started to acknowledge me as more than a distant relation whom she may have seen on one or two occasions. Today she came running into the kitchen when she heard me come home and sort of huggled on my legs for a while before Toby blasted her out of the way. She likes flying up to the ceiling on Daddy-power and sits at my end of the dinner table without complaint. And she smiles.

Thank God, we are making progress.