WHEN THE ORDINARY BECOMES EXTRAORDINARY.

Last May I wrote a blog post about how hard parenting became when baby #2 came along.

For the first several months, it was complete chaos at our house. But finally, we found our rhythm in the chaos…and then God changed the beat of our song. It was like going from a soft ballad to dub step.

When I took the job at UA we knew it was best for the girls to make the transition to Tuscaloosa when all four of us could be together, so Chris offered to keep them with him in Hattiesburg until he found a job in Tuscaloosa. Did you read that?! He OFFERED to become Parenting: Party of One. Now Chris has never been one to shy away from parenting duties. He is an amazing father who has been involved in every aspect and decision of our daughters’ lives from day one. But what kind of dad OFFERS to take care of two kids—a preschooler and an infant—for an unknown period of time??? A pretty freaking amazing one.

Thankfully, Chris interviewed for and was offered a job the night before his temporary gig as a single parent began. But he still flew solo for five weeks. FIVE WEEKS! I’m not even sure I could do that!

And he did it without complaining. Not once did he make me feel guilty. For five weeks, he gave our girls two parents-worth of love and attention. And it was hard work. Ellie is a fast crawler (and now full-fledged walker) and curious about exploring all the things she shouldn’t—dog food, dog pee pads, electrical outlets, cabinets. And EC is in the stage of asking a million questions, wanting a constant playmate and developing an opinion—and an attitude. So to survive, Chris did anything and everything to keep our girls happy.

On their first night at home without me, Chris sent me a video of the girls giggling as he played chase around the house with them. He looked at the camera and said, “We are just fine, Mommy,” and the ran after EC as she squealed uncontrollably.

He sat in the playpen with Ellie, let the girls crawl all over him just to make them giggle and even letting EC paint his toenails. He became the ultimate hero for our family.

He has been the cook, the cleaner, the chauffeur, the boo-boo kisser and the boogie wiper.

I’m pretty sure he never got a good night’s rest. The only nights he wasn’t kicked, slapped or used as a human pillow by EC (who slept in our bed while I was away) were those that he spent trying to calm Ellie down and rock her back to sleep. I can count on one hand the number of times Ellie has woken up in the middle of the night since she was nine weeks old—and all but one of them occurred in the past five weeks.

As if flying solo wasn’t hard enough, Chris dealt with numerous challenges while I was away—like Ellie’s constant ear infections that led to scheduling surgery for ear tubes, EC’s fall that fractured her wrist and resulted in a cast on her arm, Ellie’s newfound love for pooping in the bathtub and the time that EC tripped and fell down a few stairs in the garage (don’t worry—there weren’t any broken bones with that fall). He was there for every appointment, administered every dose of medicine, dried every tear and scrubbed the bathtub more times than he can count.

And then there was the night when a bad storm and the threat of tornados came all too close to our neighborhood. As the tornado sirens from the nearby school blared through our house, Chris somehow managed to corral a four-year-old who was a nervous wreck, an 11-month-old who had just learned to walk and our dog who is terrified of bad weather into the closet to wait out the storm. Thankfully, the only damage was the explosion of toys inside the house that seemed to keep the girls distracted from what could have been a terrifying afternoon.

Seriously. I would have had a melt down by now. But not Chris. He totally embraced this seemingly impossible adventure.

One night last week as I was waiting for Chris and EC to call me to say goodnight (as we did every night), it had gotten quite late and I figured Chris had fallen asleep while trying to get EC to bed. I texted him to tell him goodnight and he called and said, “Sorry. We’ve just been playing and having fun and didn’t realize how late it was. She was pretending to be Ray and I was Kylo Ren and she was taking the Force from me.”

Given her balance of grit and grace, I wouldn’t be surprised if she was wearing a princess dress while playing Star Wars.

For five weeks, Chris focused on our girls so that I could focus on work. But wait, that’s backwards, right? At least that’s what many people thought. We heard our fair share of sarcasm and humor about Chris being “Mr. Mom” while I was gone, which was all in good fun and we played along. And while us mama’s often feel overwhelmed and underappreciated, I’m willing to bet dads feel that way, too. Because dads aren’t called to run “daddy daycare” or fill in for mom when she’s overwhelmed or gone. They are called to be fathers.

When you think about it, men are called into action as fathers by our Heavenly Father. I mean, would you expect any less from Him? Isn’t He always there, no matter what? Doesn’t He always show up? Volunteer? Care for you and love you unconditionally? And not because He’s asked. Not because He feels obligated. Not because it’s expected. But simply because it’s who He is.

On Saturday I needed to run some errands and brought the girls with me, thinking it would give Chris a bit of a break. As we were standing in line to check out at Target (our last stop on the list), Chris walked up behind us. He had just finished up a few errands of his own and instead of heading home, he drove through the parking lot, saw my car was still there and decided to come inside to help me. It was raining and he knew that carrying two girls and an umbrella while pushing a buggy to the car was next to impossible.

“I figured you might need a break,” he said.

What???? He just took care of our girls BY HIMSELF for five weeks and he’s still concerned that after a few hours I might need a break???

He showed up. Because it’s what dads are called to do.

He later told me, “Just because you’re here doesn’t mean I’m not going to help. You don’t owe me anything. It’s called being a parent.”

My heart was overflowing and I immediately thought of the song “Good Good Father” by Chris Tomlin. It’s lyrics sing of the simplicity of how our Father loves us because it’s just who He is. And Chris is the same way. Yes, what he did for our family was amazing, but it’s not anything out of character for him. It wasn’t a one-time deal. Being a good, good father is ordinary for Chris—it just so happens that while I was gone for five weeks, his ordinary became extraordinary. Not because he was asked. Not because he felt obligated. Not because it was expected. But simply because it’s who he is. And I thank God for that every day.

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Thank you Chris for answering the call to fatherhood—not just when you’re the only parent around, but for every day of our girls’ lives.

Good Good Father | Chris Tomlin

Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night
And you tell me that you’re pleased
And that I’m never alone

You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

Oh, and I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching
For answers only you provide
Cause you know just what we need
Before we say a word

You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

Cause you are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us

You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us

Oh, it’s love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think

As you call me deeper still
Into love, love, love

You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

You’re a Good, Good Father
(You are perfect in all of your ways)
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
(You are perfect in all of your ways)
It’s who I am, it’s who I am it’s who I am

Comments

  1. Katie says

    Tears!! What an awesome and amazing husband and father! You truly are blessed to have him and he you and the girls! A true testimate to family and unconditional love. You both should be proud of your accomplishments and of what you are able to do as a team. You make a great team and how lucky are your girls to witness it! Love you all and so proud of you Chris.

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