Occasionally one arrives at end of the week with some measure of regret or some feeling of business left unfinished. This was not one of those weeks for me. No, as I reflect on the week just ended, I'm proud of two decisions that directly affect two of the most significant people in my life: my son Isaac and my daughter Anna.
First, Isaac. Tomorrow, April 20, is his birthday and he's turning seven. Although his birthday party was yesterday, the actual day of his birthday is still a cause for great celebration in our home, and Isaac loves to celebrate. We think it's probably one of his spiritual gifts! (I'm not really joking; just read Luke 15 for three stories that end in great parties.) Anyway, I was invited to participate in an important meeting three hours from home, and I would not have returned home until after 8pm. The meeting could possibly help shape the direction of our family's next several years. Nonetheless, I declined the invitation to the meeting in favor of ensuring that I would be home and present with Isaac on his one and only 7th birthday.
Second, Anna. On Friday, Johnna took Luke for his nine month checkup, so I offered to stay home with Anna so that Johnna could focus on Luke (he had to get shots). My first thought was that Anna could watch a video while I worked from home. Fortunately, the Spirit of God encouraged me in a different direction, so I decided that we needed to get out of the house and away from the computer. So, Anna and I had a date at Einstein Brothers. We shared a chocolate chip bagel, and Anna had a not-s0-hot chocolate while I had a coffee. Anna excitedly remarked, "This place is AWESOME!" We decided to go back for another date in the near future. After that, we went over to the new Target store and just walked around. I had fun seeing the things that caught Anna's eye. No surprise ... everything that she was drawn to was pink. (I thought that a market researcher would have loved a video of Anna's meandering through the store.) After Target, we made a brief stop in the AT&T store to take care of some business, and we had a good time just sitting on a cool bench in the store. Then it was back home. A great few hours together with my precious daughter.
One of my favorite songs is American Dream by Casting Crowns. The song chronicles the life of a man obsessed with work and acquiring the "finer things" for himself and his family. Even while everything is falling apart, he elects to miss the daily events that shape the life of each family member. In the end, he's lost all of them. The song ends with the words, "All they ever wanted was you ... All they ever wanted was you." A great reminder of what is really important. The what is actually a who.
Well, this week I can proudly say that my family is getting me. I'm thrilled with the decisions to be present and involved in the lives of my kids, whether a special event or a rather routine day. As I wrap up this entry, I'm just thinking that this shouldn't even necessitate a blog entry. After all, these types of decisions should be the default setting. Unfortunately, these decisions run counter-cultural and require intentional thought to become reality. Perhaps if I make more decisions like these on an increasing basis they will in fact become the default for me and my family. And I'm sure we'll be a happier family as a result.
One last thing: I have the great privilege of cooking Isaac's favorite breakfast tomorrow morning on his birthday - waffles and sausage. Isaac requested three pieces of sausage, and I'll be the one to serve them to him!