Wednesday night I was able to spend some time with my number 3 son. He earned the tickets for a Pirates game from school. Yeah, #3!
Last week, Amy enjoyed time at a game with #4, then at another game with #'s 1&2. I missed those games because of sermon prep and writing. But this time, I was able to go.
One of the areas I am constantly struggling with, is the balance of time. Every week I work a 40+ hour job. I come home each night to another 4 to 5 hours of church work (mostly study, prayer, writing, planning, and meeting follow up) and 2-3 years of graphic, web, and blog work. And squeezed into those hours, I still have to find time to be husband and dad.
Usually, Amy and I work out a plan for each work. We carefully plan who's picking up or dropping off who, where and when they need to be somewhere, rotating game attendance, and bedtimes or house chores. Some weeks the balance is great. Other weeks the balance is way off. Some weeks I find myself immersed in church work or a graphics project and my family time suffers. While other weeks I just put projects off because I don't want to be another of the kids games. It's a teeter-totter thats always teetering to one side or another.
But tonight... Tonight was my chance to spend some much needed one-on-one time with one of my boys. So off to the game we went. In my mind, I wanted to make the most of that time. And so I thought of questions to talk about in on our trip the game. But instead...SILENCE.
During the game I tried to talk about the players, the game, how boring it was, how poorly the "home" team was playing, how beautiful the skyline was, how the lightening and the storm clouds were coming closer, and how hot and humid it was. But for most of the game...SILENCE.
By the 6 inning, we had had enough; time to find something to eat. Plus, I needed to dry off from the sweat, and we both needed to stretch our legs.
Then, finally, some small talk. We stood at a high-top table near a TV screen and watched the game while snacking on ball park favorites; nachos and hot dogs.
But it wasn't till we made a mad dash for the car, in drenching rain, that we were finally able to talk. As the rains came down, and the lightening flashed, working to keep the car on the road through less than ideal visibility, my #3 decided he wanted to talk. So talk he did. The conversation was mostly about the storm, and our run for the car, but at least he was finally talking.
But here's is what I am learning, I need to prioritize my time with my wife and kids. While the balancing act works for most weeks, it's not the perfect scenario. You see, even on the good weeks, my time with the family is still limited. I don't spend as much time as I used to spend with them, and it's beginning to effect the relationship I have with each one of my kids. so when I do have that one-on-one time, it often takes longer for the conversations to become something significant.
I know that this season is only for a season. And Amy and I pray diligently that, sooner rather than later, I will not have to work 3 different jobs. We pray daily for the time when we will be able to return to full-time ministry, and the blessing of one job. When that day comes, I will be able to focus on my ministry and my family in a balanced and healthy way. But until that day, I must make a concerted effort to connect with each of my kids and my wife in ways the strengthen our relationships, and fight against the disconnect that leads to quiet car rides into the city for a baseball game.
The end result was this. The game...so-so. The home town team lost. It was very hot and very humid. The rains came down and we got wet! But, we made a memory by being together, and I hope that it will be one of those memories that he will remember for a long, long time. And perhaps 25 years from now, he will say to me, "Hey dad, remember that baseball game we went to? It was so hot that night and we got so wet. Wasn't that great!?"
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