We pushed the garage door opener on our life as a family of three, just released from the hospital with our baby girl bundle. The house felt huge after our cubby in the postpartum ward. Ladybugs and clouds danced the walls in her nursery.
The sunshine and celebration outside beckoned us. A short stroll before nap time? Why not?
For a first time father, there was nothing newbie about you. A physical therapist, babies were the brightest spots on your clinic schedule. You cooed and chuckled through our miracle’s first-bath-fussing, then confidently laid her back in my arms. I searched your eyes for reassurance. You smiled that everything was alright.
Finally home, the whole neighborhood was in party mode. The 4th of July was sparkling out there. Fresh air and freedom called. Shunning the infant carrier, you scooped our girl up freehand, and through the door we went.
Slowly we climbed the hill, my momma-legs wobbly. Rounding the corner, we saw the street lined with open garages and lawn chair gatherings. We qualified, too, now, a full-fledged family.
Ambling closer, the landscape shifted. The smoke and sparks, crackles and pops hit a crescendo, considerably less festive at close range. Fireworks exploding everywhere, no one paused to welcome the newest neighbor. We decided to run for it—or at least waddle.
Baby toes tucked in your elbow, we plodded through a gauntlet of ground flower whirls and fuming fountains. It felt like a battle zone. I fought panic that some spark or tipped-over rocket would sting our sweet girl. You spoke peace and curved like a shelter around her. Toddling along as quickly as possible, we made it back safely inside our walls. It had been the longest block of our lives.
First parenting fail on the books: testing out that verse on walking through the fire without being burned. Check. God must have a special ops unit for new parents.
All three of us exhausted now, you introduced her to the crib with a few pats for comfort. She fussed for a minute, then dozed off, trusting you. It was only when you came out of her quiet room that I saw you rub your shoulders. You had worried, too, along the sidewalk craziness. Afraid of dropping her, tense in the midst of sparks and noise, you had held her so close, your muscles cramped.
Somehow, that strain spoke your love more clearly than anything else. We weren’t business as usual,
We were yours.
We were heart-deep underneath your calm wisdom, and you would do anything to keep us safe.
We could trust you.
Almost sixteen years later, our controller opens a gate part way around the world for our family of five.
You are still the adventurous one, speaking peace over my mothering flutters. You are the forward thinker, encouraging me to open the kitchen to our daughter’s exploration, placing the lawn in the care of our son’s hands on the trimmer. You carry us through the shifting landscape of new culture, language, and how-to-do-everything.
Sometimes it puts you into knots, but you are wise and strong. With the Lord’s help, you keep us safe. We love you with everything we are, everything you help us to be.
Happy Father’s Day.
To all the ones we trust, to the pillars of our families, whether by blood or by spirit:
We would not be the same without you. Thank you for launching our babies into the sky and making moms everywhere catch their breath. You teach us all how to fly.
May the Lord be your strength as you walk us through the fireworks.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
Isaiah 43:2-3a NIV
Linking this post up to VelvetAshes.com at The Grove: Family