Monday, April 9, 2007


First off, I really want to thank Jennifer, Kelly, and Eric, who proved themselves to be really good sharers. If you haven't yet, feel free to respond with your own "Better know a VRCC'er". I reall y like it when we get to know each other better.

To encourage that spirit of sharing, let me open up about something. Jennifer and I are so not prepared to be parents! We were given the opportunity to babysit little Kaleb Wages who, if you are not familiar with him, may be the best baby I've ever come into contact with. I've rarely seen him cry, and he seems incredibly comfortable with strangers. So, Jennifer and I assumed we were getting an easy assignment when Rachel mentioned that they needed a babysitter. "Easy" might be an over statement. Now, don't get me wrong. Kaleb was still the perfect baby, crying only when he was hungry, which is the most natural of reactions and one I employ quite frequently myself when I don't get lunch as quickly as I like. Still, I was unprepared for the physical and mental concentration that it takes to care for another life, and needless to say I have a new found respect for each of you who devote yourself to a child (Good Luck, Swan!). Long story short, Jennifer and I love all of your kids, but we are not ready to have any that we can't give back at the end of the day.

The picture to the left is from our NC Spring Break vacation, which I find myself reflecting on more and more as the TAKS test approaches (five more days to get my kids ready). As I have mentioned on my personal blog, flying a kite was one of the most restful things that we did while in Kitty Hawk, but it got me to thinking about the analogy of a kite. In order to make a kite fly, you have to hold the string very tight, for without that tension, the wind will not catch the kite and it will fall to the ground like a rock. However, the art of kite flying is also in knowing when to let go of the tension and allow the kite to soar. There is a balance. If I do not use enough tension, the kite will not fly. If I keep constant tension, the kite will never be free to ascend. I think this is like life. Without some sort of tension pulling at me (pressures of work, obligations of church, bills, "honey-do's" from Jennifer), I always crash by becoming directionless, staying in bed or wasting away in front of TV. If there is too much tension, however, I am only hovering and not soaring. I lose creativity and purpose, only surviving to the next chore and not recognizing the beauty of life. The art is in balancing the two, I guess. Right now, I could use a little less of the tension and a little more of the soaring. How about you?


Kent said...

Don't worry Paul. Some of us with kids feel like we don't really know what we're doing either at times.k

Beej-lo said...

Gotta admit, seeing that it was my baby you were taking care of, that was a pretty good read. Not so much to make lite of your babysitting experience, but the fact that what you say is true. Isn't it amazing? When you have a kid you are not "playing house" anymore. You worry whether you are doing the right thing all the time. Shortly after having Kaleb (like while still in the hospital) I realized that I will never again suggest or even ask someone "When are you going to have kids?" though they have to or something. It's a lot of work and a lot of sacrifice...and a lot of frustration...and a lot of joy...all at the same time. -Which I guess is why people have kids in the first place.
2 more things:
1.Rachel and I greatly appreciate your friendship...more now than before Kaleb (weird,huh, I was afraid we would lose contact with more people). But we really enjoy seeing you and Jennifer take an interest in Kaleb. It really really really means a lot to us, more than I can express in a blog.
2. I'll try and start posting more. Wasn't thing blog my idea? Thanks for keeping it going guys. All I think about is school. I need a little break...3 more weeks! -alan

The Swan said...

I gotta weigh in here, seeing as I'm about to join the ranks of the child-raising.

If you asked me when we got married if I'd have a child at this point, I'd tell you no, that's not my preference. Of course, things have changed since then, but I still probably wasn't absolutely dying to have a kid right now. Some couples get to the point in their lives where they're COMPLETELY ready to have kids - you know the type: they're the ones that have the dramatic music swelling in the background as they check the little white strip for one line or two.

Now, me? I wasn't there. And honestly, I don't know if I could have ever gotten THERE. Even when Riss and I were getting married, I got to the point where I knew what I wanted to do, but I was still afraid of doing it. Having Lukas join our lives is much the same way for me. I know I want to bring him into our world and I know we can do a good job as parents. That doesn't mean at all that I'm not afraid or worried.

My wife will kill me for overusing this cliche again, but I've always thought life is sometimes like a roller coaster. And in this case, here's the metaphor - there are going to be points in your life where you just need to crest the hill, trust the tracks and hold on.

So let me apply that. All our lives, we "lay track". Practically everything you WILL do in your life is determined by decisions you're making now or have made in the past. The decisions you make can be influenced by a huge number of sources, but ultimately, they're all yours. But I say that not to make anyone scared, because you can use this phenomenon to your advantage. You can know that if you make decisions that point you towards a Christian, Godly life, you've laid the right track. You can have faith that when life tops the crest of the hill and starts hurtling down at speeds far beyond your control, you'll be going the right direction. Because you're laying the right track.

My relationship with my God has never been perfect. At times, I'll definitely say it's been not even "good." But I know that He has influenced my life, and my inmost being wants to serve Him. So when I find out that I'm going to have the chance to guide another one of His children through this world, I'm honored, because I know it means God has chosen me. A lot of kids are born into some very terrible situations, and a lot of couples that really deserve it don't ever get to have kids. But every child is a gift. And this one is God's gift to me.

Slightly rambling, but I'm not being scored on coherency at the moment. :-)

Phylemon said...

It's awesome to hear from all three of you. Sorry I had to guilt you into responding, but I really appreciate your thoughts.

Kent- What you said is really comforting, but a little scary. I guess I've assumed that a little light goes off in your head when you leave the delivery room and suddenly you know what cry means what and exactly how to take care of every need. As I said before, it gives me a lot of respect for you to know that you not only care for a little one when you are as clueless as I was with Kaleb, but also that you somehow manage to continue on with your everyday life as well.

Alan- Jennifer and I treasure the friendship that you and Rachel offer as well, and I don't think it is any secret that Jennifer adores Kaleb more than just about any baby she has been around. Good luck over the next few weeks of school and I look forward to an actual post from you then.

Eric- Your metaphor of "laying track" really hit me hard (in a good way)as I've gone through some work stuff today and needed to hear that when life feels like it is spinning out of control we need to have faith in God and the good things he has done through us. As far as Lukas is concerned, we are really looking forward to getting to meet him, so tell Riss to hurry up and get him here!