And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.
I’ve learned when my wife is on a mission, to stay out of her way. This was the case a couple of weeks ago when she disappeared into our home office with a stack of photographs, a few snacks and a clearly palpable “Do Not Disturb” demeanor.
After burning through all remaining pre-Christmas midnight oil she hurriedly passed the baton to the folks at Snapfish and FedEx to make it in time for Santa’s sleigh.
The results of her labors were the most amazing sets of photo albums of our children, which she fashioned as gifts for the grandparents. With some urging, she added me to her Christmas list, and my precious copy just arrived.
Featured, in my new favorite book, are my three daughters, who are now 9, 12 & 13. As I turn the pages, it’s an awesome and humbling experience to see the lives of my children evolve so rapidly from adorable toddlers to personality-packed young people. The power in the smiles remain the same throughout, but so much has changed as the teddy bears give way to cell phones.
I remember when our first daughter was born. When the nurses told us we could take her home, my wife and I looked at each other as if to say, “What are we supposed to do with her!” We didn’t have a clue. By the third, of course, we were seasoned pros.
From that first bundle of joy, friends and family always told us to embrace each and every moment with our children. They warned us that kids grow up so fast. I’ve since learned this isn’t entirely true.
The reality is that tadpoles, kittens and puppies grow quickly. As human beings, we are blessed by God in that childhood progresses at a very measured pace.
What makes the time fly is our misguided belief that there are so many more important things in life than raising our children. Sure. We’ll tell everybody who will listen how important our children are to us, but when it comes to the choice of watching television at night or reading them a book, our actions tell a different tale.
I think many of us Dads struggle with the idea of being a “provider.” Yes. We are to provide for our families, but in many ways other than just financially. We’re oftentimes generous with our money, but selfish with our time. While we’re on our personal journey toward significance, we allow that gradual, amazing bloom of our children to happen outside the windows of our lives.
I believe this is one of the reasons why the Father of the Bride has such a difficult time at weddings. Yes, some of the tears are pride in our daughter’s achievements and the joy of seeing them aglow with love. But, I fear, many of the tears can be traced to the sudden realization that our little girls grew up in spite of us, while we were busy chasing the rabbit trails of career and elusive pots of gold.
With this special gift from my wife, this wonderful book of photographs, it’s clear to me I want to step it up from here on until I walk those princesses down the aisle. And, for that matter, through the rest of their lives.
Outside of the birth of our Savior, this might just be the best Christmas gift I’ve ever received.
Learn more about the author Michael K. Reynolds