So I think I am figuring out this whole timing thing with a baby.
I am told that getting anywhere on time with kids is pretty much impossible. “You just have to plan better” was my answer. That was always responded to with laughter as parents stared at each other and shook their heads at poor ignorant me. “You just wait till you have kids!” they would respond. Well…I recognize it isn’t as simple as I thought—it never is.
I can see why people say that being on time is almost impossible, but I hate being late and not honoring people’s time. When we first had Claire we were late to everything. I blamed lack of sleep, the dog, running our of coffee and the cat…its always the cats fault in our home.
Anyway, so after a few months of being late to pretty much everything I started preparing things the night before to make sure we would be set for the next day. However, Claire always has a schedule of her own: diaper change as we walk out, barfing everywhere, or the cat sneaking outside as I hold the door open with my pinky toe while at the same time holding the baby carrier, diaper bag, work bag and lunch bag.
Does anyone want a cat?
So it seemed like the night-before-idea just wasn’t cutting it. I tried prepping an hour before we needed to go anywhere but that also didn’t work—an hour was too much time. It’s amazing how many diapers and outfits (Claire’s and mine) a kid can go through in one hour. I tried 30 minutes but that was nuts! I would forget half of the things I needed to bring with me. I swear no one noticed it, but one day I wore a brown and black shoe to work…sigh.
Last week I tried 45 minutes. It works! 45 minutes before needing to be anywhere is perfect. Just enough time to change, feed, prepare everything and kick the cats sorry behind back through the door. I’m telling you a 45 minute cushion is perfect. I realize that will change when kid number two comes around (some day, but not yet). However, right now 45 is this guys new favorite number.
Seriously, does anyone want a cat?
A few days ago I was in a Wal-Mart with my daughter Claire and I saw that they already had Halloween costumes out. There were two high school girls looking at the different outfits and I happened to overhear their conversation. The one girl thought that the costume she was looking at was not “skimpy” enough. Yes, she actually used that word. The conversation ended with them deciding to go to one of those pop-up Halloween stores in town to get something that would be more “fitting” for their needs.
Every year I see some of my Youth Ministry girls’ pictures on Facebook from Halloween parties and I dread the potential of seeing one of them in these “skimpy” costumes. I dread it because:
So this is my open letter to my beloved ladies of Youth Ministry. I love you girls so much that I want to say this before Halloween comes around and you buy your costume.
Maybe this year the skimpy, inappropriate Halloween costumes are hitting closer to home because I am a father to a baby girl. Maybe holding Claire as I heard the above conversation had me see her in those two high school girls. Regardless of the reason I don’t think that the skimpy costumes are necessary. So here are this Youth Minister’s 6 reasons why I would advise against the skimpy costumes.
There are so many cool, creative non-skimpy costumes out there that can highlight your creativity, intelligence, gifts, talents as well as your beauty. My challenge for you is to not get sucked in by the worlds desire to make you into a thing, an object, a means to an end.
You are holy. You are sacred. You are precious. So be all of those things.
I love gazing at my daughter. Not looking at, but gazing. When I think of gazing I think of staring with the intent to acknowledge the worthiness of the object I am gazing at. I look at toast. I gaze at my wife and daughter. They are both exquisite and beautiful. There are moments when Claire gazes back, smiles, laughs, cries, and poops on me. Still, I love gazing at her.
A few weeks ago I was studying my notes for a class I am taking when I noticed Claire gazing at me with her hand straight out as if calling for me. I succumbed to this chubby mini-hand and laid my head next to hers. We just lay there. Eventually I lifted my head and stroked hers with my fingers. Something about this moment was different. I was noticing her little baby bumps (which I assume are pores), her eyelashes, nose—everything. She is perfect and lovely to behold.
As I often do, I started telling Claire that I love her and that she is beautiful, strong and smart. I told her how much she means to me and that I would do anything for her…even lay my life down. At one point I remember saying, “I don’t think you will ever understand how much I love you.” I believe that statement. I don’t know why but I just know this.
As those words came out of my mouth another voice spoke, not an audible voice (not crazy) but That voice that has been speaking to us since before we had being. I felt that God the Father was doing the same exact thing I was doing with Claire, except that it was with me. He had His head laying next to mine; stroking it and telling me how much He loves me, and would do anything for me…even lay His own life down. It’s as if I could hear Him saying, “I don’t think you will ever understand how much I love you.”
Discovering fatherhood is so much more than learning about my daughter. It is discovering that God as Father is gazing at me…at you…at us. He acknowledges the worthiness of how lovely we are to behold. There are moments when we gaze back, smile, laugh, cry, and poop on Him. Still, He loves gazing at us.