Every so often I get signals from my boys. The signals are expressed differently by each child, but they are indeed signals. The child giving off these signals is telling me that they need attention and that I need slow down and spend some extra special time with them. Between my wife’s s crazy work schedule, my three night shifts, school, chores, appointments, sports, etc..etc…it’s easy to lose track of who hasn’t had quality time with mom or dad in a while.
The other evening I had to be up for work at 2am. I was desperately trying to clean up dinner, get the boys in their pj’s and get settled down in our bedroom with a new movie. I figured the movie would help the kids calm down and give me an opportunity to close my eyes for a few minutes. I rented “How to Train Your Dragon 2”. Jen came home from work and joined us about 20 minutes into the movie. As I closed my eyes and attempted to drift off to sleep, our 3 year old, David, became very wound up; jumping around, climbing on his brothers and just annoying all of us. I tried to sleep through it……but finally the fighting between David and his brother Rylan was just too much. Halfway through the movie my wife and I finally couldn’t take it anymore. We were tired. We told the boys we’d finish the movie tomorrow.
Rylan and David could have cared less and just walked out of the room. Evan hopped off the bed and started to walk through the doorway with his head down. I stopped him and said, “Ev, I didn’t turn the movie off because of you. You were being wonderful. Mom and Dad just need some sleep.” He motioned that he understood, but he still looked very sad. I called him over again to let him know we would finish the movie when I got home from work in the morning. I asked him what was wrong. He turned around and leaned up on the bed. His eyes were squinting and becoming watery. His lips started to droop down. While fighting through his emotions, he said to me, “It’s not that you turned the movie off…” Suddenly his emotions took control of him and he broke down into tears. He then said, “it’s because the little boys daddy died!”
Evan had been quietly engrossed in the movie the entire time. Apparently I had turned the movie off right after the big Viking father was killed. Evan knows the difference between movies and reality, we’ve had those talks before. He just has this huge heart and he doesn’t deal well when seeing something happen to a mom or dad even in a movie. But I also think moments like these occur from time to time because of our crazy schedules. Long days at school, mom always coming and going and dad always doing chores and trying to keep everyone happy on half sleep. With all of the chaos, he probably sometimes feels alone.
During my shift at work that evening, I couldn’t help but think about how badly I wanted to get home to my little Evan in the morning. Before I came home I bought 3 “As Seen on TV” giant Snackeez Cups for each of my boys, for future movie nights. The boys are fortunately still at an age where even the smallest of surprises still gets them excited.
Once I got home, I went through my morning routine and then spent a few hours cleaning the house. When I finished, I rewound some of the movie from the night before, so I could see the scene that had upset Evan so much. Afterwards I called Evan up so we could finish the movie together. We then had a father and son conversation and finished up with a big wrestling match on the bed.
Later that night we all had a nice lazy Saturday evening, camping out in the living room together. As my wife drifted off to sleep on the sofa with David, my other son Rylan asked me if I could carry him up to bed. Evan was still watching the movie that was on. I tucked Rylan in and laid with him for a bit (because he wanted me to and because I was too exhausted to say no). I fell asleep for about an hour. When I woke up I found David asleep in his bed, my wife asleep in our bedroom……and Evan asleep on the living room sofa. I turned off the movie that was playing, threw him up over my shoulder and carried him to his bed. He snored the entire way up to his room.
My oldest son, with his huge heart of gold, growing so fast and always wanting to be like dad. It had been ages since I’ve carried him up to bed. It wasn’t easy, especially considering he is now over half of my height, but I enjoyed the moment. For a few seconds, my little man felt like my baby boy again. Life often takes control of us, and sometimes it’s not so easy to regain control. Sometimes we need to stop, put everything on hold and regain order. We need to take in moments like these, for ourselves and for our families, to remember why we started this topsy-turvy parenting lifestyle to begin with.
~I Love You Evan~