Twenty three years ago this morning, I gave birth to our youngest son. His arrival meant that we had four sons under the age of 6 1/2. Yes, I too know people whom have more, and even closer together in ages, but for our little family, those four in that time span, equaled non-stop craziness!!!
It didn't take us long to dub them "Seek", "Destroy", "Destruct", and "Dismantle". No one title always applied to only one child, they all just always made sure all positions were covered. Oh the stories I could tell. Oh the stories I have told. ;-p
But this posting isn't about those times. It's about what has evolved out of them.
You can click on the picture if you'd like to see it better)
During all of their growing up years, Brian (my husband, their dad) almost always worked at least two jobs. I say 'almost always', because we seemed to always feel full effect of the economy. Many a time he would get a good job, just to be let go down the road a short ways, due to a shift in the economy and down-sizing or 'belt-tightening' by employers.
And I said "at least two jobs", because there were many periods during which he juggled three. And us, his family.
For years, Brian lamented to me about how he wasn't a very good daddy. And/or he would get highly disappointed in himself, due to needing to work so many hours in order to support us, thus not having much time to spend with his boys.
And yes, he NEEDED to work that many hours. 'Below the poverty line' was a normal thing for us to see when doing our yearly taxes.
But this posting isn't about how hard or how many hours he averaged working either. It's about what evolved out of what he did do, when he wasn't working.
I remember m-a-n-y a time, Brian arriving home from work so tired he could hardly pick his feet up to drag himself up the porch steps, and yet still allowing four rambunctious young sons to climb on, or wrestle with him. Often all at once. And the times that I attempted to call them off, he would silence me.
I remember the times that we went camping. Including the times that the boys and I headed out on Friday and he joined us after he was done catering on Saturday. Whether he had been there the whole time, or if he joined us later, he would tell me to grab my book and sit by the camp fire, cooking him up some delicious food, while he and the boys headed off to play in the sand, or wrestle in the water, or whatever else they came up with to do that time. But always, it wasn't about Brian catching his breath or taking a break, it was about time with his family. And he figured since I 'dealt with them' the mass majority of the time, I deserved some calm for a bit. (Although he often did word it, that I was to rest up for him for after the boys went to sleep. ;-p)
I remember many a time while he was working nights at his regular job, plus morning/lunch hours at the caterers, him still wanting me to make sure he got up in time to attend a sons home sports game. And if I pointed out how little sleep he'd had - sometimes three hours for what was suppose to equal his 'night's sleep', he would remind me that he could sleep when he died. (I guess he thinks the Lord is gonna give him a rest period, before joining his beautiful base voice to one of His quartets.)
If we were involved in doing some type of volunteer work (most often meaning either a) we were doing the food for some church or camp event, or b) he was doing the sound for it, or often c) both) then our boys were learning the ropes working right along side of us. Didn't matter that in actuality, we often could have done the job much faster with out their help. "They learn best by doing."
But this also isn't about all of the things that I remember. It's about the relationships with his sons that evolved out of all of the above.
I find it very interesting, that for him "not being a good daddy", he is the one they call, or corner in the kitchen or bathroom, when somethings not right in their world. Or when something exciting happens. Or when they just start talking.
"The girls" have commented on how my guys will get to talking, and talking, and talking, and about how often it's not about any one thing, "they just like to talk to one another, especially if dad is around."
Often if we fix our plates in the kitchen, intending to sit in the living room to eat and watch something, it takes awhile for the guys to actually join us. They always insist that us ladies fix our plates first and then they fix theirs, but in the mean time, they get to talking. And talking. And talking. Often blended with bursts of laughter. Which if we call in, inquiring about, we're asked, "are you sure you want to know?". Most often, my answer is no. I've learned. ;-p There's been many a time they call out to tell us to go ahead and start eating. To us, it's a sign we probably won't be watching whatever it was. ;-b.
When the out-of-state-kids are in town and we're planning to do something as a family, all of the boys insist that we wait till dad gets home to go do it. Even when Brian says to go ahead and he'll catch up with us. "He had to miss enough things when we were growing up, due to working so you guys could feed us. It's wrong not to wait for him now."
There have been many times that he (Brian) thinks he's "bribing them" with dinner out if they all pitch in and help do church (he's the janitor). They chuckle and claim that they just like going out to eat with their father. "It's always more fun when he's along."
I marvel at the relationship our grown sons have and are still building with their dad. No, they don't always take his advice the first time. They often ask for it and then choose to try things their own way first. Sometimes they are right. But not always. And oh is it sweet to hear them tell him, "guess I should have listened to you in the first place, huh?" ;-]
And no, they haven't always made what their father would consider the wisest of choices on some matters. But it is comforting to see them come to him, seeking council to straighten things up again.
If he had truly been a 'bad daddy', his in-put would be anything but welcome!
I have been mulling this posting over in my mind for quite awhile. And then last night when I went looking for Brian, I learned that he was with Brent, in the bathroom, talking. One on 'the throne', the other sitting on the edge of the tub. Talking.
And today is Brent's birthday, re-reminding me that all of our sons are no longer "boys", but rather they have grown into 'men'.
And then almost directly back to back, I read THIS posting on the blog 'a holy experience' and THIS posting on Jen's '11th Heaven's Homemaking Haven'.
I knew it was time to stop mulling, and start typing!
I used pictures from Byron and Cyndi's wedding because,
a) I hadn't really planned ahead of time to do this posting TODAY. So therefore, I hadn't yet dug through all of our box's of pictures to find a cute/good picture of Brian with all four of our young sons in it.
b) I did go through this box of pictures sitting next to the desk, but, as you would expect,I found pictures with all but this son, then all but that son, then all of the sons, but you couldn't really see all of their faces, because it was a shot of everyone opening presents. Or...
c) But I am 'suppose' (;->) to be adding pictures to postings on a more regular basis, and I really am trying ... (whoops, guess I should have used the words 'attempting to'...o;-p)
d) So Benson helped me find the pictures from their wedding which are stored in one of our computers files....
You've got some pictures. Your Welcome ;-b!