Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rewards of Fatherhood

Today was crazy. It ended with a 7:00pm block party with the neighborhood. We visited with the adults and the kids played with each other. It was quite fun. We all got back to our home at different times. About 10:30pm I decided it was time to help Jesi get to bed. She was downstairs watching TV and usually I would just call down for her to come up. But I felt prompted to go down and talk to her in person instead. What a rewarding experience!

She was just finishing up an episode of Dragon Tails. I scooped her up in my arms and sat down with her to watch the end of the episode. When it was finished, we turned off the TV and I held her close and talked to her. I told her how wonderful she was and how much I loved her. I told her how important she was to our family. I was pretty much done, but she looked up into my eyes and said, "Is there anything else you want to talk about?" If you know our family very well, you know that Jessica has me pretty well wrapped around her little finger. So of course we continued our talk for quite some time. I told her how important she was to me and how I would be lost without her. I again told her how important she was to our family, and she asked for specifics. I enumerated many of the ways she blesses our lives. The whole time she was just soaking it all up.

We talked about the new school year (she starts 1st grade on Monday). We talked about how much fun it will be. She wanted to know why she couldn't sit with her siblings at lunch, and I explained it was just the rules at Providence Hall. She looked at me and said, "And if you don't follow the rules, you have to go to (the rest was whispered very quietly) Mr. Johnson's office." Mr. Johnson is the principle, and she has obviously learned that it is not a good thing to be sent to his office! I asked her if she knew anyone who had been sent to Mr. Johnson's office. She said, "Joe (name changed:) got sent to (whispering again) Mr. Johnson's office." Regular voice: "Don't worry, I NEVER get sent to (whispers) Mr. Johnson's office!" Good for you, Jesi:) By the way, Mr. Johnson happens to be the nicest, sweetest principal ever, making her comments even more funny.

At one point in our conversation she told me: "Dad, you have no idea how much I love you. My heart would break if I didn't have my Daddy." AWWWWW. Come on, it doesn't get much sweeter than that.

Every night before bed we have family prayer and scriptures. Each child has one day a week during which they say all of the prayers and are in charge of family scriptures. Saturday is Xander's day. Tonight for scriptures he chose the story of Noah and the ark. The little kids love this scripture story because of how we tell it. When we talk about having two of each animal on the ark, each family member gets to choose one animal that Noah would have taken, and then all of us act like that animal. Graci always chooses Tiger (born in the year of the Tiger). Taylor usually chooses cougar (BYU mascot). Other favorites are cow, monkey, frog, cat, dog, etc. At the end of the scripture story, the person who's day it is gets to share their testimony of the Gospel. Tonight, Xander's testimony was one of the sweetest things I've ever heard. He had a hard time starting out, so I helped him with his first sentence. Then, on his own, he said, in his sweet little voice, "I know Jesus loves us. I know Jesus will come down to earth. I know our family can be together." As he said these three beautiful truths, his little eyes started to fill with tears. I picked him up and him gave me the longest, most heartfelt embrace. With tears streaming down his face, he did the same to Christi. He is such a sensitive little guy. It is a great thing to witness your children feeling the spirit and responding to it.