A warning to future me

This past Sunday, I was drumming on the worship team. We were seriously on fire. I wish someone in the sanctuary had been recording us, we were that good. But that’s not the point of this…

The point is, while I was up there playing like a rock star, I couldn’t help but notice some of the teens. Specifically the teen girls. Hey, I’m married, not dead. Several of them wearing short skirts (I love spring for this reason by the way), and one in particular was wearing a particularly tight, short dress.

Now at the time I just drank it in. Just because I’ve already ordered doesn’t mean I can’t look at what else is on the menu. But then it hit me: one day my girls will be that age. And by that point, I hope I’ve taught them to be more modest than that, against the day that they run into a guy like me. Seriously, which parent allowed that girl to go out, much less to church, in a dress so tight you could see every last curve with virtually nothing left to the imagination. And what was her plan in wearing that?

So to the future versions of my daughters, listen up: treat what you have as valuable, and don’t just give it away, or it will become cheap. And by that I mean you will become cheap. And you’re both too good to give yourself away.

For clarity’s sake

I have to be clear here, because I think I’ve been sending some mixed messages in some of my past entries. I love my wife, and I always will. She’s just amazing. She’s talented and smart, and beautiful. She fills in all my gaps. When we met everything just clicked, and we knew that we were right for each other.

We might frustrate the daylights out of each other, but I love her, and I take it on faith that she loves me. And so when we feel like throwing our hands up and walking away, instead we both turn back around and wade in for another round, until we get it right. She’s worth the effort, even if it is like getting punched in the face some days. I think that’s part of marriage. Two people will inevitably get on each others nerves, but marriage is the commitment that you’ll figure out a way to get it to work instead of giving up.

Take it easy,

“Rocky”

Head, meet wall

We’ve had this discussion before, many times. It’s always resulted in the same thing. You say you’ll change, and then you never do.

Don’t hold the past against you? No, it’s called predicting the future based on past performance. You have acted in this way before, I’m not just making it up. Why should I expect anything different this time?

Don’t just walk away, you say? Don’t you mean, come back for another round so I can slap you in the face again? How many times do you have to smack a dog with a newspaper before it learns not to trust you? Well however many times it is, you’ve done it to me enough that I no longer trust you.

All I want to hear is “I’m sorry, it won’t happen again.” Instead I just get a bunch of rationalization and straw man arguments. Saying “I’m not saying I was right but…” and then giving me a list of reasons why you think you’re right, doesn’t magically mean that you’re not saying you think you’re right!

File the above under “Things you should not have to say to your wife, but have to anyway”. <sigh>

Disappointed but not surprised,

“Rocky”

P.S. Lest any of you think I don’t notice, my wife is an amazing wife and mother. Improvements can be made to anyone. But no argument can take away her excellence.

This is love

One day, I’m sure each of my daughters will say to me, in the middle of some fit of rage, “Don’t you love me?” And I’ll remind them of all the times I’ve cleaned up after their pee, poop, barf, snot, drool and tears, all the weird requests (read: demands) they’ve made, all the tantrums I’ve gone through. “I’ve put up with you through the past (X) years, just like my parents put up with me, and your Mommy’s parents put up with her. Someone who didn’t love you would have tossed you out in the cold long ago. This is love.”

One day, I’m sure my wife will say to me, in the middle of some fit of rage, “Don’t you love me?” And I’ll remind her that for the past (X) years I’ve sold my time and energy to my job, brought home the money and given it to her for our family’s use. I haven’t kept any off to the side for my use, or held anything back. “I’ve jumped through the ridiculous hoops you’ve put up, and tagged along with all your grandiose plans that so quickly evaporated. Someone who didn’t love you would have tossed you out in the cold long ago. This is love.”

One day, I’m sure I’ll say to God, in the middle of some fit of rage, “Don’t you love me?” And he’ll remind me of every blessing, given freely, to someone who never deserved any of it, despite countless failures and outright insults to his grace and mercy. “I’ve given everything for you, in a way that you’ll never understand, even as a husband and father. Someone who didn’t love you would have tossed you out in the cold long ago. I am love.”

I’m such a child.

Still growing up,

“Rocky”

I must have done something wrong

Because looking back at it, high school really wasn’t that bad.

Admittedly, I cheated by going to a small Christian private high school, so maybe I just had a different caliber of classmate than most. But most references to high school still show nothing but cliques, mean girls, jocks being d**ks and the like. I wasn’t particularly popular or anything, but I had some good friends. And even the guys on the “other side” of the class (out of my graduating class of 37) were decent, and I think if push came to shove they would have had my back.

Did I miss out on some grand life lesson by not having a horrific high school experience. It does make writing (or half-writing in my case) high school fiction tough, since I don’t exactly have a basis for what I’m writing about. Maybe someone who went to a larger public school can fill me in – was it really that bad? Or are most authors/screenwriters making it up?

I wonder about this too as I think about my girls growing up. What is their experience going to be like? How can I fortify them against what’s coming up when I might not even know myself?

Vaguely nostalgic,

“Rocky”

The difference

You are not perfect. You make mistakes. You say and do things that hurt. You don’t always think of people beyond yourself.

That does not mean I hate you, that does not mean you’re a horrible person, that does not mean I’m going to leave you, or any of the myriad other ridiculous things you’ve tossed out there in some attempt to get me to absolve you of all guilt.

You are not perfect, but you’re not bad either. There’s a difference. And if you can’t see that, despite me having said it many, many times, then we’re gonna have a bad time. Because that means that all your talk about how I have to be more open and share how I feel is just lip service. If my honesty is just going to get a bunch of P-A crap in return, it’s not worth it, and I’ll just go back to silently steaming.

I’m flawed. I can admit it, and I’m working on it. I need to know that you can do the same. Because I love you.

You know who you are,

“Rocky”

My girlies

Have to take a Dad moment here to brag on my daughters. They are the smartest, cutest, best little girls in the whole world. No, seriously. You think your kids are hot stuff? Forget about it.

Bean is almost 4, and talks non-stop. From the moment she wakes up til the moment she goes to sleep she’s talking. It’s pretty amazing. I don’t know how she does it. I want to find some way to actually count the number of words she says during a normal day. I imagine it’s a lot. And the things she says! You never know when some random thing you said three weeks ago without thinking about it will pop out, or something from some kids TV show or another. When she first started talking, and repeating the last three words you said, I realized I had to clean up my act quite a bit.

Banana just turned 1. At first we were worried she’d be overshadowed by big sister (see notes above) but she’s rising to the challenge. Her latest trick, as of this morning, is when you say “big bear hug”, she’ll actually come give you the biggest hug a one-year-old can give. I totally melted.

As you might guess, I’m pretty stuck on these little boogers. They’re just the coolest little people. Yes they can be darn frustrating. They both insist on having their own way in that “I reject your reality and substitute my own” kind of way. But I wouldn’t trade them away for anything. I wonder what kind of people they’ll turn out to be. I wince at the thought of the mistakes and heartbreaks that will be in their path. I want to know how the story ends before I get there, mostly because I just want to know that they’ll turn out okay, that I haven’t let them down as a father. But I guess I’ll have to wait for that episode.

Stay tuned,

“Rocky”