As I mentioned last week, my wife and baby were away on a trip. I missed them terribly. I’m happy to say that we are all finally reunited, and what a joyful reunion it was. Even as I rolled up to the curb at the airport to pick them up, I could see our little guy peeking out over the edge of the front pack with his characteristic big grin. I jumped out of the van to hug them and help with the bags. He squealed with glee as his siblings poured out of the van, yelling with excitement and jumping up and down while they wrapped their arms around mama and baby. There were hugs and kisses all around.
As the excitement of the reunion subsided, we got back in the van and headed home to return to “normal” life. That is life with our whole family back together, enjoying our normal rhythms. Now that the dust has settled a little bit, I’m able to look back at the past week and see some important lessons I learned from the time.
It is often said that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. The truth of this came home to me during this past week when my wife and baby were gone. Their absence helped me to see how much I take them for granted when they are around. Without our little guy, the rooms of our house were a little dimmer this week as we lacked the brilliance of his joyful smile to brighten them.
Our family was far more fragile and chaotic without the expert mothering that can only come from mom. She’s a ninja at so many things. She has insight about the hearts of our children that I lack. She fills gaps in our home life that I don’t even know are there. She faithfully cares for every member of our family day in and day out. The Bible has a great way of making the point: “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.” Man, if that isn’t true, I don’t know what is.
The Bible makes another point that hit home with me this past week: “It is not good for man to be alone.” I enjoy my times of solitude as much as any other introvert, but that is quite a different thing from doing life on your own. I’m not good on my own. I get weird. I lose perspective. I waste time on things that don’t matter. I get lost in my own thoughts. This is why I need a partner in life. It’s not good for man to be alone. I was alone for only a week, and I could feel myself falling to pieces.
Finally, my week-long experiment in being a single parent gave me more ability to empathize with the multitudes of single parents out there. I’ve always known that’s a hard job. Now I really know how hard it is. My hat is off to all the parents out there who are working and raising children year in and year out. I barely lasted a week, but others have done it for decades. You have my respect.