This post is probably one of the more practical ones for every parent out there, or for those of you who hope to be a parent. My other post have been primarily about losing Jack and Hayes, but I want to go a different direction with this entry. I have had this on my heart for awhile now and want to get it out there
As many of you know my wife and I have been blessed with four amazing boys, Noah, Drew, Jack, and Hayes. I can't tell you how much I love being a dad! I have always loved watching my boys, playing with them, hugging and kissing them, listening to them laugh, and just doing dad things with them! As hard as it is to be missing two of them, and not getting those opportunities, I am beyond thankful to God for Noah and Drew. They are such an incredible blessing to Jess and I, that I thank God every day for them.
The reason for this post is that I want to take the opportunity to encourage all of you parents in particular out there. There are times where I will see parents complaining about what a rough time they are having with their kids, or lamenting how tough their baby is being, or how little sleep they are getting, or the arguing and bickering they keep having to put up with, and the list goes on....... When I read those it makes me sad sometimes or there are times where I have gotten a little angry because of them. I want to encourage you to step back and thank God for the blessing(s) you have been given.
I do want to make it clear that I am not by any means saying a parent shouldn't ever get frustrated with their kids, because I know that I do at times. Kids have that special way of knowing what buttons to push to send us over the edge. I totally get it!! What I do want to do is hopefully help those of you who find yourself in that place more than you like, and give you some encouragement in regards to the incredible gift and responsibility God has given you.
I will tell you my experience in that before Jack passed away I found myself being incredibly impatient with Noah, Drew, and Jack. It wasn't over the top and horrible by any means, but my patience was very short with them more than I should have been. It seemed that I was always snapping at them for big and small things. I don't remember if it was because I was stressed with life and I was taking it out on the boys, or what it was, but what I do remember is that I was not being a very loving and fun dad to my boys. It was to the point that I noticed that I was doing it. Jess had even noticed how short I was with the boys and had mentioned it to me.
I don't remember the exact day, but I do remember walking up the stairs feeling myself getting ready to snap at the boys for being to loud or something, and I thought, "I need to stop being like this". It was at that very instant that I prayed and asked God for more patience with the boys, and to show more love to them rather than impatience. I made a point from that day forward that I was going to bring it down a notch and enjoy the fact that I had Noah and the twins at that point. I did not want the boys to look back and think dad was always snapping at us, but I want them to look back and think wow, dad loved us and showed it!
It was probably a month later that we found out Jess was pregnant with Hayes and then two weeks later Jack died right before he and Drew's 3rd birthday. I look back at that prayer and thank God for the fact that He had convicted me of my lack of patience with the boys. It would be that much worse if I looked back with nothing but regret for not appreciating the times I had with Jack, and being so short with them. I love that I can look back and think of that moment and know that I spent that last month actively trying to be a better, and more loving dad to those three boys.
My appreciation and love grew exponentially for Noah, Drew, and Hayes after Jack died. I came to a realization how fragile life could be and how short time is. As I have said before when you lose one child you think you have a pass on ever having something like that happening again. When Hayes died last August at 9 months old, I came to the complete realization that we do not control anything, and we do not know what today holds, much less tomorrow. It was at the moment that it came into crystal clear focus that my time with Jess, Noah, and Drew is not guaranteed, and I need to take every moment I have and make the most of it!
I love my wife and boys more than life itself. I know that the parents who will read this do too! I want to encourage you to stop and take that time to enjoy every moment you with your kids! I love spending time with Noah and Drew, because I know that it can all be taken away in an instant and I don't want to waste it. I try and take as many pictures as I can with them. I try to play with them as much as I can. I try to spend time just talking with them. I try to love on them as much as I can. I am not perfect at this by any means, and I still get impatient with them, but I always try to stop myself and thank God for the time He has given us with Noah and Drew.
Spend time with your kids! Put your phones, iPads, video games, books, or whatever it may be down and spend time loving on your kids. God has blessed you with an incredible gift that is worth more than anything else you will ever have. Your children are the greatest responsibility you will ever be given and the greatest thing you will ever do in this life is raise your children. Love on your kids and your spouse every chance you get, because you don't know what tomorrow brings..........
Go hug and kiss your kids tonight!
15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”