By the time you read this, my wife Rachel will have returned safely from a ten day mission to Israel with the residents and staff of Cedar Village. It was an incredible experience for everyone that went and I was simply amazed by how much they could fit into each day. In advance of the trip, I could not count the times somebody came up to one of us and said, “Well, who is watching the boys?” To which we both replied, “Their father.”
I found it very puzzling that people assumed that I could not be responsible for the health and welfare of our sons while my wife was so far away from home for an extended period. Is our society so biased that people cannot assume that a man can be responsible in such a situation? I would be the first to admit that there are still aspects of misogyny inherent in our culture and society, but it could be that I experienced the reverse effect by so many people automatically assuming that I could not handle such an awesome responsibility.
While Rachel was away, I took them back and forth from day care, changed their diapers, bathed them, fed them, took Noah to the doctor where I found out that he came down with strep throat, administered his medicine, took out the trash, took them out to play and be active, dressed them, got up with them in the middle of night, and cleaned up vomit from when Aaron ate something just a little too quick. I did not take any time off of work either from what many consider to be a more-than full-time job. What else?
I am not looking for a pat on the back and would not say that I was “babysitting” for the boys. I was being a Dad. I would also say that I was doing what any responsible father would do were his wife in a similar situation. Was it difficult? Sure it was. Would I do it again? You bet. But I did it all the while missing Rachel tremendously and developing a new appreciation for all that she may do when I am not around. This was really the first time that either of us was away for any extended period of time since we have had kids. Fortunately, this does not occur very often.
Being a parent is the most difficult responsibility that I have ever had, but it also the most rewarding. Those two beautiful, young boys depend on me for so much that I could not imagine not taking care of the (with all that entails) while Rachel was away. Sure, I could have hired a nanny, but where would the fun be? When else will I have the chance to have such quality time with my kids? It is not very often that I get to stay up late with them, watch TV with them, and treat them like the blessings that they are to our lives.
I am glad that Rachel is back safe and sound, as this trip meant so much to her and to Cedar Village, but I am glad that I learned from certain people being so myopic and naïve that there is no greater joy than being a parent and the important role that I play in their lives.