Monday, June 18, 2012

Two Vignettes

Scene 1: Mommy getting Jack from his crib first thing in the morning. Jack: Jack's sad. Mommy: Jack, why are you sad? Jack: I went boom. Mommy: Oh, I'm so sorry. Jack where does it hurt? Long pause... Jack: Kiss? Mommy: Where should I kiss? Jack points to his mouth. Mommy kisses it and all is well. Scene 2: Father's Day/Early morning. Mommy and Jack have just rehearsed saying "Happy Father's Day" and enter quietly into the bedroom to wake up Daddy with a card and gift. Jack runs over to Daddy's side of the bed. Mommy: Jack, remember? Happy... Long pause... Jack: Happy... Birthday?! Mommy: Jack, give Daddy a kiss. Jack leans over, gives Daddy a hug and kiss and then starts talking very quitely next to Matt's head. After a minute, Jack says... Jack: Amen. Not bad. Who wouldn't want to wake up to Happy Birthday, a hug and kiss, AND a prayer?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Father's Day

When I was sixteen, my Aunt Ruth gave me some of the most wonderful advice (solicited) about whom to marry. I remember sitting around the Stuck's breakfast table in Santa Domingo, Ecuador like it was yesterday (I was visiting my wonderful Aunts, Uncles and cousins in Ecuador for six weeks the summer of 1997—they all gave me the trip of a lifetime!). I asked my Aunt what I should look for in someone to marry and she paused for a moment and then answered, "I knew I could live with just about anyone, but I wanted to marry someone who would be kind and loving to our future children." (I'm sure she was more eloquent than I am able to reconstruct years later, but you get the gist!)

Many others contributed wise counsel on the road to marriage, but I never forgot Aunt Ruth's wisdom. It stuck with me.

Now, fast forward to my senior year in college. Aside from the fact that I was physically attracted to a boy named Matt Getz, perhaps the first quality about him that made me stop and think, "Hmm..." was his genuine kindness. I'll save our dating story for another time, but I've never regretted the decision to marry Matt for an instant, for this and many other reasons.

He has not disappointed. :) Today and every day, I'm grateful for a man who loves his son unconditionally; with the perfect balance of gentleness and firmness. I'm thankful for a father for our son who always has time for Jack, holds him, plays with him, introduces him to "good" music (Chris Thile), steps in when Mommy needs a break and often when she doesn't, sacrifices his own time and needs for the sake of his family, makes his son laugh uncontrollably, reads to him, tucks Jack in at nap and night-time, takes him to the park, the zoo, and for walks, takes Jack on grocery runs and errands, goes to doctor visits, gymnastics, makes up dozens of little inside jokes or games to play with Jack just between the two of them, and fosters a loving relationship with his wife (me!).

I'm challenged by my husband's ability to set loving boundaries with Jack. Matt consistently shows discernment in deciphering best courses of discipline all while meeting Jack's needs. I'm amazed by a husband who does dishes and scrubs kitchen floors or toilets just because he loves us. I'm grateful for Matt's wise perspective and long-term view of parenting, especially when I get stuck in the day-to-day difficulties. I lose track of the times Matt stays in the nursery with Jack (when necessary) so that I can go to church, or willingly takes Jack on a super early morning when 5:00 a.m. seemed to be the "right" time to get up. I think the first months of Jack's life especially, Matt changed more diapers than I did. He cleans up vomit in the middle of the night (not to be too graphic!), and prays for our son. Matt gives Jack freedom to be himself and yet gently pushes Jack to try new things. Most of all, Matt takes care of me (Jack's mommy), so that I have the freedom to be the best mommy I can to Jack.

My husband will probably be embarrassed by this post. I can't help myself. :) Matt, I'm privileged to co-parent our children with you. I'm constantly amazed by your thoughtfulness, care for us, and delight in your son. I'm blessed beyond measure to learn from you and with you about parenting and life. Happy Father's Day.

Beautiful Baby Girl

Family Day at the Shedd Aquarium

If you know my son, you know that he loves, loves, loves animals! Daily he requests a trip to the zoo and every time we get into the car he hopefully asks, "Zoo? Go see lions?" One of Jack's favorite exhibits at the zoo is the Koi pond right after the camels. So I'm thinking, Koi pond? We can do better than that—why not take a family trip to the Shedd Aquarium? Sold. So, on a beautiful, sunny Tuesday morning we ventured into Chicago for a day of adventure.

We had a wonderful, wonderful time. :) Jack was in awe of the fish; BIG fish, sharks, turtles, sea horses, eel, lobster, crabs, anaconda, sting rays, and dolphins. And the frogs. Yes, there are giant frogs haning from the ceiling as well as actual frogs in the exhibits. Jack was excited and kept yelling, "Frog!" Except that right now, the word frog sounds a LOT like another f word. We kept laughing and saying, "Yes, Jack, a F R O G," just to ease the minds of the people around us. It was very, very funny.

Jack spent quite a bit of the day perched on Daddy's shoulders.

Getting sleepy...

Oh so tired.

"Big fish!"

Snack time...

Feeling rejuvenated enough to perform, "Three, two, one, BLAST OFF," in the cafeteria.

One of Jack's favorite exhibits was the penguins. As they waddled up to the water's edge Jack kept yelling, "One, two three, GO," desperately coaxing those funny little birds into the water. Then he would laugh hysterically when they finally took the plunge.

Trying to get a two-year-old to pose...

We spent four straight hours at the aquarium and Jack barely said a word all the way home he was so tired. Later that night, Jack went to bed saying, "Dolphin!" and woke up the next morning saying, "Dolphin!" He still talks about all of the fish and animals he saw and now has quite a few more vocabulary words.