Too Much Blood For My Six Year Old

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Wyatt and I watched Naruto for the first time. Let us just say that will also be the last time the orange jump suited ninja will be allowed in our home for awhile.

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The line between fantasy and reality is a thin one when you are a kid. Our imaginations go wild in youth. Dreaming big dreams, playing on playgrounds of fantasy. Reality, physical consequence, stalking at the unseen edges ready to pounce.

In one of the Naruto episodes Wyatt and I watched, Naruto accidentally gets clawed by a weapon in battle. The weapon’s tips laced in poison. Naruto decides to act. To get rid of the poison, he jams a knife into his hand. Blood shoots out. At this point, I’m blocking my son’s eyes. I wasn’t quick enough.

Sometime later:

“Daddy, do you remember that ninja guy who shoved a knife into his hand?”

“Yes. You know that wasn’t real but was fiction, right?”

Silence.

As much as my preferences for story surge against the dam of sanity, I made a mistake. Not only that, but that I failed in my role as a guide for my son.

I have to remember, I am the gatekeeper. Not only controlling what walks in past the gate but also for taking my son in hand and beyond the gate. His mom and I are tasked with explaining life to him. Helping him navigate between what is real and what is fantastical.

One of my greatest faults, as a father, that I’m sure I share, is that I am always in a hurry for my child to grow up. I want to share much cooler worlds than those that Garfield inhibits. Age, individual maturity, and even family rules dictate that Naruto stay beyond the gate. For now.

The last thing I want is for him to think that the mature violence depicted is somehow okay to carry out in real life.

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I apologized to Wyatt. Told him that Naruto can’t come over and play for a bit. He wasn’t thrilled, cliffhanger episode, but maybe with time he’ll understand.

Being a dad is hard. The mistakes I make are often centered around me wanting to fast forward time. Contentment, meanwhile, calls.

Longing For That Missing Person

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There is a room in our house that is empty. Sure, there might be an odd trainboard or even a bed and dresser, but the room is missing someone. Someone my wife and I have yet to meet.

For the past six years, we’ve been trying to have a baby. Methods have been tried, doctors have been visited. Nothing.

This is a pain I carry, a pain that feels like failure.

My wife and I come from big families. Raising an only son, we’ve come to discover just how much we learned about life from our siblings. Precious life lessons that have aided in our basic survival:

  • Someone punches you, punch them back
  • Trash talking
  • Learning to get along with someone that might not be nice because they are the only person around to play with (I’m looking at you, Kayla!)

Social media is filled with photos of babies. Beautiful children who are all snugly and cute. While I am excited for my friends and family who are pregnant, there is always this void that gnaws at my soul.

Someone is missing. I can feel it. And at the same time I am trying to be thankful for what has been given to me. Struggling to wrap my mind around raising an only child. Wondering if my wife and I want to go back to the baby stage. We do/we can.

There is hope. Anguish. Emotions that ebb and flow.

God is working. Weaving a story together we cannot see. The pain my wife and I experience may not be physical, but the pain is real. I am grateful that I do not have to go about this alone (I love you, baby).

I’m tired of being silent. I want that missing person to come home.

Lord, my heart is torn in two. It’s up to You, God.

Contentment

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19 Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. – Ecclesiastes 5:19 (NIV)

In college, I had an English professor tell me that I needed to focus on what was in front of me or else life was going to pass me by. As a warning, she told a story about a relative, who was about my age, and highly career driven. In fact, he was so career driven that he was missing out on his young children growing up, etc. Instead of being so focused on the future, she said, you need to focus on what God has given you.

Contentment, as the above verse in Ecclesiastes says, is a blessing from God. A blessing that I am trying to slow down and enjoy.