My Resolution for 2009…January 11, 2009
In lieu of reinventing the “Shane” I’ve decided to try a different approach to the New Year and simply reflect on what makes life worth living. I think everyone should do this on occasion and maybe that occasion should coincide with the beginning of a new year- sort of charge up and get your head straight right from the start. So here are some moments that I plan to draw from in 2009 to keep me moving down the road to happiness.
Connie is at the heart of our family happiness- without her none of the other moments that I have to draw strength from would have ever occurred. So my wife earns the top spot in my New Years list of things to remember.
Watching the birth of my boys. I was there for both and I actively participated in the process. My advice to any expectant father is to not let this opportunity slip out of your grasp- be involved.
Giving Mack and Cayden their first bath after their birth. Holding their tiny forms in my hand and washing the birth from their bodies reassured me that I had the right stuff to be a Dad.
The 4thof July 2003, I took Mack to the fireworks display at Camp Lejeune two-days after returning from Iraq. He ended up wetting his pants which was really uncommon for him at that age. But after thinking about it, he was probably afraid that if he went to the bathroom I wouldn’t be there when he returned. I held him, wet pants an all, until the fireworks ended- I guess I was afraid to let him go as well.
Teaching Cayden to ride a big boy bike. I put him on. I gave him a push. He rode away laughing. That was that- mission complete.
The first time Mack caught a baseball- not an under hand toss aimed for his glove, but an intentionally thrown hard ball that he had to chase and capture using a degree of coordination.
Invitations to snuggle with Cayden at bed time. Cayden likes to stroke the back of my neck when we lay together it’s the most loving gesture that I have ever experienced and it almost always ensures that I fall asleep before he does.
Being at the bus stop when the boys get home from school and getting to experience first hand the unabashed excitement that little boys feel when they discover that home is right where they left it.
Mack’s omelets and Cayden’s cereal crumbs.
Summer mornings watching my boy’s catch fish only slightly larger than the bait used to catch them.
Holding hands and walking 4-abreast with the members of my family.
The day my boys reached for me first to comfort them when they got a boo-boo. No offense honey, Mom will always be number one in the comforting department, but sure is nice that I can come in a close second.
The feeling of relief when your baby’s fever breaks at 2 in the morning and you no longer have to worry about taking them to the emergency room.
Sleeping with my boys when they were scared or sick so that if they woke up in the middle of the night they would know they‘re not alone.
Christmas mornings- because Santa still visits our home.
School pageants, not because my boys are great singers or thespians, but for the wacky, unscripted antics they perform to entertain our friends and neighbors.
Stick figure drawings, play-do sculptures, and creations made from a metric ton of glitter glue.
The way my boys interact with each other when they believe no one is listening- I think they actually like each other.
Movie night when Connie and I get the pleasure of snuggling with both dudes on the same couch cushion- because neither of them can decide which parent to choose.
Evening wrestling matches- except for the fact that I always have to play the villain, for once I would love to be the good guy.
Teaching the guys how to make the perfect paper airplane and then waking up the next morning to find every paper product in the house had been turned into a vehicle for flight.
Free cookies at the local grocery store. This is such a common practice that the folks in the bakery know the guys by name and which cookies from the “free tray” they favor.
Shaving with the guys on Sunday mornings- though neither of them has any restraint on the use of after shave or shaving cream.
Listening to the boy’s band (The Land Brothers) rehearse- it’s a sound only a parent could endure.
Cayden’s little boy voice. Mack lost his at the tender age of 5- somehow Cayden has managed to maintain.
Making Cayden spit out his milk at the dinner table by giving him a goofy look when Connie’s not paying attention.
The grocery store cereal aisle.
Mack’s consideration for his friend’s feelings. The kid is a diplomat- not for personal gain, but because he cares about others.
Cayden’s sense of humor. The kid should go on the road he would make a fortune.
Covering the kids up and touching them one last time before Connie and I head to bed.
This list is only a start. I could sit here all day and write down every thing the boys have given me over the past eight years- and maybe I should. Just the few minutes I have spent has reminded me of things that I haven’t thought about in years and other things that are so common that I don’t even recognize their significance. Ponder this, if you don’t stop and think about the little things that happen in your family and commit them to memory you’ll lose them forever- and that would be tragic.
Maybe for 2009, I’ll write down one thing per day that defines the experience of being a father to Mack and Cayden. What do you know, I just figured out a worthwhile New Years resolution.