Reflections on Christmas and fatherhood
The date is now two days beyond Christmas, but my stomach is still trying to put this year’s feasts and festivities behind it. We here at OGV house have had a most blessed and enjoyable Christmas with both sides of the family. We have literally eaten our way through a six-day road trip that included one quick overnight at OGV house followed by a speedy departure Christmas morning, enjoying fabulous foods all along the way.
With all that said, I hope that each of you have been able to appreciate the same joy of family that we have. The only thing that could have made this better would have been to have my sister and her family here. That would have capped everything off really well.
A couple of thoughts occurred to me while I was on this road trip that I want to share with you. Both of them revolved around being a father.
Just before Christmas, while we were visiting my parents and brother in Central Texas, my brother received a day planner from the local dry cleaners when he picked up his laundry. There was one particular sentence offered among the collection of quotes in the planner that stood out to me. This one was one that Bill Cosby offered in his book Fatherhood.
“Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap on a rope.”
I didn’t get soap on a rope this year, but I did get a gift from Austin that he picked out for me. He gave me a new coffee cup for Christmas that is emblazoned with the words “No. 1 Dad.” (He gets extra points in the sucking up to daddy department!) Contrary to Mr. Cosby’s words of wisdom, I don’t have to pretend. I have a new favorite coffee cup, even if it only holds half the amount of the larger mug I’ve used for several years. Even if it means I have to get up twice as much to drink the same amount of coffee each day, I’ll use this coffee cup every day. ..until he gets me another one that will, no doubt, become my new favorite.
The second thought involves something I’ve learned while trying to motivate a child. I have learned to used different techniques to get Austin to do tasks such as cleaning up, paying attention, or going to the potty. One of my tools is to say to him, in my most commanding and assertive Daddy voice, “Austin, I’m going to count to three and you better start (doing whatever the targeted task is) by the time I get to three.”
This technique worked well for a short while. Then Austin really began to love counting. Oftentimes, when I try to do this now, Austin will answer by saying, “No daddy. Count to ten.” He’s so happy that I want to play the counting game that he wants to count with me and go beyond the simple little one, two, three that has become so passe.
This was followed up with a final step last night, when I was putting him to bed. He didn’t want to hear any bed time stories. He wanted to count. He went up to 30, then told me he wanted to go on. I think we made it to 78. One of us fell asleep. I think it was him, but am not sure. I was pretty drowsy and that’s the last number I can remember saying with him.
Anyhow, these are some of my favorite memories from this year. I hope your Christmas was also very joyous and you have memories of your own to recall.