Archive for September 8th, 2022

September 8, 2022

The power of thank you

by Rod Smith

When Nathanael turned eleven I saw very clearly the power that comes in a good, honest, appropriate, thank you. 

Having gone a little over-the-top for his big day, we were exhausted. But, the day had finally ended and the last of the guest-children was out of my hair and my sons were in their rooms and almost asleep and I was sitting downstairs taking stock of a full, satisfying day when I heard the birthday boy – each boy has very distinctive sound trails – coming down the stairs. 

Ever so quietly, almost sheepishly, he put his head around the door.

“Thanks, Dad,” he said, “thanks for an awesome day.”

We hugged. 

My heart burst. 

While I have diligently taught my children to express gratitude, I was not waiting to be thanked. I had simply done what dads do for their children’s birthdays. 

His acknowledgement hit something deeply within me. 

While it became very obvious that I needed my eleven-year-old son’s recognition for a job well done, something deeper was going on within me. 

I knew what it was. 

He, at 11, had done what I was unable to do until I was very, very much older: acknowledge my dad, look him in the eye, throw my arms around him and express my thanks to him for all he had done.

September 8, 2022

They were once babies

by Rod Smith

“Dad, where are you?” 

Every morning for years these were the first words out of my older son’s mouth.

“Dad, scratch my back and sing,” was my younger son’s oft-repeated goodnight ritual. 

By this time we’d moved out of the beautiful baby days. 

With all the tween years involved, it was easy to forget the baby years, the work, the mountains of laundry. 

It is easy to forget the sleepless nights.

But, tucked into the mundane and the repetitive, are things so miraculous that a middle of the night baby moments can transform into holy encounters. 

Our lives together were, and are, lessons of love, moments of kindness, volumes of vulnerability, sometimes encountered so powerfully and painfully they could only have come from the heart and mind of the Divine.

“I’m exactly where I was when you said goodnight. I have hardly moved.”

“No, I did not sing only two verses. I sang all three. But you were asleep by then.” 

When the washing machine dies and the dog jumps the snowy fence to explore the greater neighborhood and one son has a splinter in his finger and the other is hungry and needs his nappy (diaper) changed and the bills are mounting in a stack of unopened mail, it’s easy to lose sight of the trail of miracles that come with every baby.