Today was a pretty good day. My wife’s parents are staying with us for a while, and my parents also came for the weekend. A snugly full house for a night, which was fine…we have the space. Today my wife went to a baby shower (by herself!), and the grandmas were entertaining the toddler, so I got to sit and talk with the fathers — my dad and my father-in-law. We talked about guns and shooting for close to an hour and a half. It was wonderful. I so rarely get to just talk to someone without them looking at me as Pastor — and doubly so for men. Either people are trying to avoid talking to me at any length, or they’re seeking me out to spill their problems and burden me with them. Both are kind of a downer, in their own ways, and men especially aren’t that eager to talk to the pastor (because, after all, pastors are neither fish nor fowl — most people seem to regard them as falling in between men & women, almost like a third sex. That would be a post in itself….) At any rate, it was great to just sit and talk about something other than church stuff for a while, with a couple of guys who weren’t looking at me to be Pastor. It’s such a simple, ordinary thing to describe, but I cannot exaggerate the effect it had on my morale. Not often do I get to be simply a man (albeit a young man) among men…just a man among men.
The other awesome thing today came from our seven-month old little girl. Gram had brought her in and set her on the floor. I watched them for a moment to see if she needed anything, then turned back to the conversation. I heard a small, high voice say, “Hi, Dad,” but I thought it was Gram so I ignored it — until she said, “The baby just said that.” I stopped and looked at her, trying to absorb this amazing information. My seven-month-old daughter, the one who just learned to crawl last week, had verbally greeted me, and in an understandable way. Unbelievable. The high point to this daddy’s day. You might not believe me, but I have witnesses. Of course I love my daughters (and my wife, for that matter), but I don’t always get to hear it like that — especially not from a seven-month-old infant. Hearing her say, “Hi, Dad,” draws my love and attention to her all the more. I find myself looking at her with more concentration, waiting to see what she’ll say next. (It’s not out of the question; her older sister read the word pizza aloud to me from a printed sign, with no pictures attached to it, at 8 months. We seem to have verbal children.) What a beautiful baby.