We tend to remember parenting “firsts.” The birth of a child, her first steps, the first time that he rides his bike without training wheels. These days, the memory of those firsts are aided by mobile phone video, never to be forgotten.
Lasts are more difficult to remember. We don’t usually know that this will be the last diaper we change, or that this will be the last time that we have to tie our child’s shoe.
Last Sunday evening, at the end of a long weekend of activities and hockey games and cookie baking and church, my 9-year-old and I were sitting on the couch, reading and listening to Christmas music as his older brother did homework. At some point, he laid his head on my lap and fell asleep. Shortly thereafter, I, too, fell asleep. An hour later, I awoke, and he was still sound asleep. He’s too big to carry, this rough-and-tumble hockey goalie, so I roused him to a state of about half-awake and directed him to his bed, helped him in, and covered him up.
And I thought to myself, I wonder if that’s the last time that one of my children will fall asleep on my lap. If so, it’s something that I will greatly miss, but a memory that I will deeply cherish.
As you can see above, I had an epic weekend of hunting in and around Huron, South Dakota with my new friend, Jorge. I also preached at Grace Episcopal Church in Huron and met many of that church’s wonderful people. And if Albert looks tired in that photo, it’s cuz he is. We arrived home at noon today, and he’s not moving.
There are few things in the world that I like more than hunting. It has become a real focus of what I want in life: time in the outdoors, with my dog and friends, and soon with my kids (once they’re old enough).
Recently, Courtney asked me if there’s anything else in my life that is like hunting — that is, something that’s all-consuming of my mental capacities, something that totally absorbs me and allows me to leave everything else behind. I thought about it and said, No, nothing else has that effect on me.
As I’ve struggled to understand myself better — and the controversies on this blog have played a role in pushing me to do that — I’ve been focusing on what I can learn about being an Enneagram 8. On the drive to and from Huron, I listened to Suzanne Stabile’s lectures, “The Aggressive Stance.” It’s only a part of the puzzle that is me, but it’s been very helpful to embrace the doing center of an Enneagram 8. I’ve talked to Suzanne about this on the phone as well, and she’s encouraged me to start thinking through how my writing sounds to those in the thinking and feeling centers, and to those in the withdrawing and reflective stances.
Your Favorite Blogger with Courtney, kids, and cousins.
I just got back from a week at a dude ranch in Colorado. It was a celebration of my mom’s 70th birthday, and we gathered 17 Joneses of three generations for a week of horseback riding, whitewater rafting, and eating lots and lots of beef. It was the perfect family vacation (and I’ll post about it more in days to come, including my victory in barrel racing at the culminating rodeo).
I’ve got two brothers, each with a spouse and kids. As in many families, we were raised in the same faith (centrist Protestant), but we’ve gone our separate ways somewhat. Each couple is raising their kids differently, which causes interesting conversations when we get together at times like this.
One of the things that my nieces are particularly interested in is talking about God, especially with a theologian. One of my nieces attended Young Life camp earlier in the summer, so she was particularly keen on talking to me about God and Jesus and faith. She and I chatted a bit, and later she told my mom, “After talking to Uncle Tony, now I’m totally confused.”