I’m in Washington, D.C. for a series of meetings this week as well as to participate in the National Day of Prayer. Tomorrow’s activities include brunch at White House which is a real honor. My wife Jean and the boys are with me and, with an eye on the National Day of Prayer, I can’t help but reflect and give thanks to the Lord for the joy that my family brings me.
One of the things I love about my wife, for example, is her incredible nurturing heart. I first noticed Jean’s innate mothering flair in the way she related to animals. We had five cats at one point because Jean would find strays or unwanted kitties who needed love. One cat in particular had just three legs. We called him “Tripod” and loved on him as if he were no different than the rest.
When we started discussing having kids, Jean wasn’t sure that she was capable of being a good mother. I wanted to have kids, but didn’t know if the timing was right. Again, I felt the Lord saying to me, “Jim, don’t pressure Jean.” About age 38, Jean had a change of heart. With the window of child-bearing closing, and having completed her college course work in Biology, she felt it was time. When she came to me and said she was ready to start, I was excited at the chance to be a dad.
Jean had a really long labor with our firstborn son, Trent – upwards of 20 hours. When the nurses brought Trent into the birthing center, Jean was understandably exhausted. She needed to sleep. The nurses, however, were trying to make sure that Trent stayed with us that first day as much as possible – part of the bonding process.
I was so captivated by Trent, that I literally held him in a rocking chair throughout the night. I never tired of gazing into his precious face or smelling his fresh newborn scent. I prayed over him, thanking the Lord for such a blessing. I asked God for the strength and wisdom to do a better job raising him than my dad did for us. I also prayed pray that the Lord would take away my fears – my apprehension because I didn’t know how to be a dad.
Our second son, Troy, arrived on the scene almost two years later to the day. Both boys were August babies, but if Trent took his time in labor, Troy decided to get a running start. At first, Jean thought she was just having back pain. Like some women, she tended to go into denial when in labor. But at two ‘o clock in the morning, her water broke.
We lost no time jumping into the car. We strapped Trent in the car seat and I called my sister Dee Dee on the way and asked her to meet us at the hospital. I ran several red lights fearful that Troy would be born in the front seat.
In the hospital parking lot, Dee Dee and I made a hurried handoff with Trent, our two-year-old. That done, I raced into the lobby and to the evening nurse’s window. Banging on the glass, I called out, “My wife’s going to have a baby right now.” A woman approached and told me to calm down. She was really taking her time and I was annoyed.
Thankfully, a nurse wheeled Jean in as I dealt with the mountain of paperwork. Moments later, somebody came running out of the birthing room and said, “Mister, if you want to see your baby being born, you’d better get in there.” I walked into the room as Troy was being born. They cut the umbilical cord and then the catch nurse took Troy’s vital signs at a work station.
Behind me, I overheard some murmuring from the nurses who had gathered around our baby boy. When I went over to look at Troy, I was told his color was not quite right. When the doctor finished with Jean, he turned and looked at Troy. Within a minute, they whisked him out. Evidently, Troy had ingested a lot of fluid and his lungs were full.
He was taken into the neonatal intensive care unit where he was put on an IV drip. A series of x-rays were taken. For the first forty-eight hours, that poor little guy was poked and pricked and tested to identify why his vital signs were so low. We didn’t see him for twenty-four hours, which caused us a great deal of stress. His welcome to the world was very different from Trent’s, whom I cuddled in the rocking chair all night. Troy remained on oxygen around the clock for four months to help dry out his lungs. Happily, he turned out to be a suitable match for Trent’s boundless energy.
For the last few years, just about every morning Troy comes into our bedroom at four o’clock to snuggle with us. Troy is one of the cutest little boys on the planet and Jean and I have to remember that this routine won’t last long. When he climbs into our bed, he slips under the covers right next to me and does this little wiggle as he gets cozy. I’ll wake up as he settles in and hear his little voice say, “I love you, Daddy.” It’s the best feeling in the world . . . and it reminds me that I’m finally home.
Yes, I’m a blessed man.
What are you thankful for? Why not join us tomorrow for the National Day of Prayer and use a portion of your prayer time to give thanks for your family, your loved ones, and for all of God’s blessings.
Portions of this are @copy2007 Cook Communication Ministries. Finding Home by Jim Daly. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.