Of Oklahoma Tragedy, Kids and Dads

I am having a hard time working today.  I keep thinking about the tragedy in Oklahoma and the victims of tornado.  My heart has broken over and over as I try to put myself in the place of the parents whose kids have died.  Quite frankly, I can’t do it.  I cannot get past thinking that most of the kids who were killed are the exact same ages as my kids.  There is no way I can relate to that loss – my girls, no longer with me here on earth.

While I was dwelling on these thoughts, while trying to work, the song “Just Another Day in Paradise” played on Pandora.  If you don’t know the song, here are the lyrics http://www.cowboylyrics.com/lyrics/vassar-phil/just-another-day-in-paradise-9493.html.  My eyes filled with tears.  I know, I am a man and I am not supposed to tear up…but I am also a dad and I suppose there are few more appropriate responses.

Not that I am shy about showing my “feelings.”  I get frustrated that the kids don’t listen to their mom as they should.  It annoys me that I have to tell them hundreds of times to turn off lights and to do their chores.  I am righteously indignant when they do not play soccer or softball to what I know is their greatest potential.  And I get ticked off when they miss test questions because they are rushing instead of using the brains I know they have somewhere.   I am grouchy when I wake up from a night of the kids in bed when they insist on sleeping sideways with their knees, elbows and feet in my ribs.  Dad “feelings.”

To be fair to myself I hug them tight, I listen to them and try to be as helpful as I can when I hear that their feelings were hurt by the words or actions of another nine year old.  I do make it a priority to attend their games and events, to teach them our family’s traditions, to help them understand that Jesus loves them always.  To snuggle on the couch, to teach them for school and for life, and I do all I can to show them not just tell them that they are loved completely.  I am hopeful that other dads can relate.

I know those Oklahoma dads wish that they could be woken up in the middle of the night one more time because someone was about to be sick.  They wish they had one more morning of utter chaos when five minutes before you must leave for school someone remembers they had homework due.  Would give all they were worth for another dusty, windy, sunburned, long day at a soccer tournament.  They would give their own lives for one more cuddle on the couch.

Father’s Day will come this year, and I will be watching baseball at the ballpark with my family.  The girls will think it is special because it is about Father’s Day and so, to them, it is about me.  What I know as a father is that they day is special because of them.  It is one more day that  I get to be 12 foot tall with a cape.  I will never tire of those days.  But those superheroes in Oklahoma will wonder from where they will derive their superpowers.  They will wish for one more day to be 12 foot tall.

For some reason I will never exactly understand I have been blessed with a family and particularly a wife and two girls that I do not deserve, thank my Lord.  I bet many dads are in the same place.

Lord, please protect my family tonight and always, and every day comfort the hearts of those who have lost their children. Amen.

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