Morning by Morning (4/10/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Ryan’s new “destructive” phase.  Now, it’s not my favorite of course but it’s fun watching him learn that he can cause chaos and throw balls at windows and knock down whatever he finds.  It brings him such joy!
  2. Ryan’s new “no” phase.  Did I mention Ryan is a toddler? Anyway, last night for the first time Ryan clearly said no to me in silliness first and seriousness No four straight times.  Though it’s challenging for me as a parent, I understand it as a development of his individuality and I think there is wonder in it.
  3. The many cultures I can come across in Houston, whether food or culture festivals or even riding the rail.  Pretty cool!

Morning by Morning (4/8/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. The weekend.  This week was long not because of patient care but because of admin work that seemed to pile up.  There is an element in that admin work of being entrusted with some key leadership tasks which I appreciate- on other days- today I appreciate the place of Saturday and Sunday!
  2. Jumping on the trampoline with Ryan. He is too cute!
  3. Sitting outside with Elana yesterday after dinner- although I did jump on the trampoline with Ryan too. All good.
  4. The TCH Critical Care Remembrance Breakfast, where we remember the children who have died the past year. It’s today and it is always a special opportunity to grieve with others and remember how special those families were to me.  And, uniquely, it is a special way for them to share their appreciation for me, and it humbled me.

Morning by Morning (4/5/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Hang out time with Jacob Schapson, a fantastic guy who I think is always very introspective, intentional, and dedicated in every task and situation he’s in.
  2. Watching kids ride the train.  Every morning it seems there is one kid on the train, a toddler or young school age kid.  And they love the train so much, whether through their giant smiles, their fascination with the passing sights, and their jovial sounds that narrate the trip. I love listening to it all!
  3. Virgil Fry’s sermon that reminded me that in John 11, we have (and need) both the God who resurrects the dead and the God who weeps with/for us.  It is humbling to consider that and have that framework when I serve our families in the hospital.

Morning by Morning (4/4/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Teaching little kids about April Fools.  A kid was playing with Aiden and had just learned about the day, and when he was going to grow the baseball to Aiden, threw it in the opposite direction and said April Fools!!! That’s one way to do April Fools!
  2. The awesome turkey sandwich I made last night. Turkey, sliced avocado, cranberry cream cheese dressing, toasted ciabatta.  Yum!
  3. Our little dog Hot Fudge Sundae who died yesterday (she had to be put down).  Such a annoying dog, but a sweet dog and part of our family.

Another Stage in the Life of a Step-Father

Can I be a little honest here?

I love being a dad.  I love being a stepdad.  I have been around Aiden since he was 4ish and it has been great. When I started with Aiden, we were quite close and I often put him to bed, went on little outings with him, took him to practice, went to get haircuts together, played baseball in the back yard, played catch endlessly, you know, dad stuff.

Aiden and I have shared a great relationship since I started dating Elana, to the point that I befriended him before Elana ever had taken note of me. And because of the circumstances with his dad, it really felt like I was Aidens dad too (his dad was definitely his dad in that he and Aiden love each other deeply and Aiden idolizes him).  So when I first started dating Elana, after we got married, as Aiden started school…we were fairly close.

Yet as he has grown up a little- he’s now 8 almost 9- life is slightly different.  First, when we moved to Pearland the neighborhood we live in has tons of kids his age and so much excitement.  Aiden no longer needs me as a playmate because he has entered the world of “friends.” Second, Aiden is now a baseball player.  He is involved in every league imaginable, from Fall Ball and Spring Ball to All Stars to Select teams.  His baseball schedule fills our calendar and occupies enormous amounts of time for Elana and his dad as the yet him to practices and games and tournaments across Houston, Pearland, and even Beaumont. Third, circumstances are different with Aidens dad. Fourth, Aidens schedule with us looks pretty different than years ago because of a split in time and his growing ability to be choose where he stays from time to time (i.e. inconsistency). Fifth, Ryan’s presence in my life has taken some of my own attention as Ryan is not yet old enough to play real baseball or catch or other games with us without distracting me from Aiden.

So things have changed.  Can I be honest here? I don’t feel like the dad I used to feel like with Aiden.  It can be disappointing. It can be sad at times. I miss it and miss getting to play with Aiden often. In fact, at times it is kind of heartbreaking. What I really miss? The way Aiden treated me like a dad.  He doesn’t treat me badly but the relationship has changed and he of course has recognized that if only unconsciously.

But if I might continue to honest, it’s okay.  Or at least I’m learning to accept that it’s okay.  Because the interactions and relationship of fatherhood and stepfatherhood changes over time anyway.  Ryan will change too. Aiden will change again as a teen.  Kids grow into their futures and their lives and as a parent I respond with respect and love, just as a little one walks into the first day of kindergarten and is different from there on out. 

Yes, I don’t feel like his dad anymore and I grieve that.  I will for a while.  But I also celebrate it for Aiden, because it means he is growing up, or because he has a good relationship with his dad, or because he is growing into his personality. There is grief and joy. Grief and joy seem to always be connected as a parent.

Morning by Morning (4/1/17)

My daily gratitude for:

  1. Bailey’s (our big dog) head laying on top of my stomach this morning as he woos me to pet him.  It’s a reminder of his friendship with me.
  2. A calm unplanned Saturday morning.
  3. Trying my hand with a little garden. I have already noticed all week that it’s fun to water and clear out the planters.  
  4. The fellowship and encouragement of “being at the table” with others, like last night with Elana, Belinda, Mikey, Stephen, and Dawn Marie.  Sharing the table is precious way of seeing others through the eyes of faith.