One of my favorite Biblical passages. We all know it. A simple, beautiful verse from Joshua. A path of service and generosity of spirit? It clearly assigns value to these. Yet when this path is chosen on a “full time” scale, it is denigrated by our current culture of materialism, self-centeredness and mothers seeking fulfillment within careers outside their homes.
The condescending views expressed this year by a certain Democratic spokesperson on motherhood? Not even worth addressing, as doing so provides credence to the feminist agenda. Being a Catholic woman is my value, my worth. And quite simply, I am blessed.
Titles? Awards? Pay increases? No, not any more. Those are in the past. It’s all much greater than that now. It’s largely unseen. And unnoticed. But it’s bigger.
I don’t look to be fulfilled by looking beyond my home. It all happens here. Everything important, and unimportant. And I’m thankful for the glimmer of humility bestowed upon me by our Lord that I see it.
While I steer the boys’ academics daily, orchestrate the minutiae of their social calendars and sports schedules and manage the home keeping in its entirety, my husband is the power behind it all. His encouragement at home, his dedication at work, well, cliché as it sounds, make our family journey possible. His quiet willingness to carry the burden of our family’s financial necessities? Recognizing this treasure is the most valuable gift.
A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even tempered. Proverbs 17:27
On a recent Sunday, my husband opened the magazine section of our New York newspaper, eager to reach the article detailing “family day trips” to one of our travel destinations this summer. Initially assuming that the story might supplement the wealth of information I have been gathering for our westward journey, he was consequently quite dismayed to discover that the piece was not in the slightest a family vacation guide, but more a pseudo ad for a Mom-and-Dad-can-relax-on-the-beach-we’ll-take-the-kids-off-your-hands-and-keep-them-busy-beading-swimming-boating-playing-with-lanyard-for-a-full-day-so-you-don’t-feel-guilty-because-they’re-having-fun-too ‘camps.’
“Who in the world would buy into THIS?? This isn’t a family trip….this is glorified daycare!”
That’s my man.
He gets that our kids’ lives, our lives, are passing as a car speeds down the highway. Trees and telephone wires ablur. These precious, fleeting days? He wants to be with them, not just with them:
He sends regrets to a family wedding rather than hire a babysitter for our children.
He holds the consequences for undesirable behavior even though it makes him the most unpopular person around.
He prefers family-movie-based-on-that-novel-we-just-finished-night to let’s-go-out-with-another-couple-night.
He is gratified and proud from behind the scenes when the bat cracks the ball, the basketball is sunk, the square roots are learned, the scripts are memorized, the chords are mastered and the curtain calls are taken. And when attempts fail, he is there with the shoulder, the eraser, the net.
He’d love nothing more than just a little quiet after an endless day at work. But “Daddy, guess what?” trumps his downtime.
He witnesses, as coach as well as Dad, as his child reaches down to help a fallen opposing team member from a muddy soccer field rather than scoring that goal, easily within his grasp. Because he’s modeled for his son the score that really matters.
And no, this is not the All Sunshine and Unicorn All The Time Channel. We, too, have bottomless laundry baskets; short tempers; volunteer commitments which impose on family time; algebra, science research and Latin grammar that require reivew. We too, occasionally place pizza orders out of desperation, wondering how it got to be 6:00pm. And we show up at the little league field feeling pretty darn together only to find that we have given our son his uniform from last year for his weekly game.
But we pray for patience and for focus on what matters, rather than getting bogged in the mire of what doesn’t. Alongside the man who keeps his family going.
Daddy: A word, whispered-with-reverence and full of hope. Daddies are building cathedrals, really, of both defining moments and the ordinary, which will weave themselves into the brightest of snapshots in their children’s tapestry of memories.