God Smacked (Part I)

prior to this fall…it had been hard for me to see God, the higher power, the ultimate goodness — in the day-to-day — it was a significant non-God phase for me…where i definitely felt the absence of the Holy Spirit…but, then something happened…

and not once, but twice…

here’s the first thing that hit me…

it came out of the blue…two friends/families we’ve gotten to know through our kids’ friends randomly coordinated a double-sleepover for our kids, jack & grace. and they did this so that my wife & i could have an overnight together (without our kids around). when i first heard about the offer (through my wife) i was so overwhelmed by the gesture that it nearly knocked me off me feet. i had that reaction because it had been 10 years since we’d had a completely solo overnight without our kids! let me say that again — it had been a decade! pretty wild. have you ever been given a gift like that?! if you have, you know what i’m talking about — when it happens, it rocks your world (in the best possible way)…it was very generous and thoughtful — and my wife and i made the most of it! thank you, tanya & gretchen — for that little (but big) act of kindness — we are grateful for the gift you gave us — 100%! while i know there are those who may use this term to reference different experiences — in my world, what happened to us is what i’ve come to call being God Smackedto be loved with such a force that it bowls you over, right then and there! ūüôā

*in retrospect, the most ridiculous part about this whole thing was my thinking as we were getting to know these friends a year or two ago – i was like, i’ve got my friends, i don’t need new ones, i don’t need to get my friends through my kids, etc…but then, i came to know them and like them (for sure) and pretty quickly overcame my silly resistance towards these new friendships — even before this amazing gift! 

**this event also ignited a memory — and i had flashbacks to when the kids were first born (we had twins) — and at that time, so many friends and family members showed up and loved us — and helped us through those early days…we wouldn’t have made it to today without that kind of love…

our last day with our day care provider…

yesterday, we said goodbye to one of the most important people in our lives…our day care provider…

given the impact this woman had on our lives, i am re-posting (below) a post i shared more than 3 years ago…

everything in this post is still true today…or, more true…meaning, you just need to “times” all of the good shtuff i said below by ten thousand (x 10,000) and then you’ll be close to just how much my wife and i love and appreciate her, our day care provider…

note: in the first version of this post, i didn’t give out her actual name–for privacy reasons–but i’m gonna do that now…because if you’re out there (in the twin cities)–looking for a place for your kids–look no further, sign up today!!!

thank you, stefanie berge/sharon (owner/operator of¬†tender heart childcare) you’re the best around!

to see what i’m talking about, please keep reading…

before i¬†was a teacher, i worked with kids in many different settings…coming through¬†a gauntlet of years¬†in¬†youth work &¬†(now) teaching, it takes a lot¬†to impress and inspire¬†me in this field…

but, i¬†have been¬†truly impressed and inspired over the past 3+ years…

with our in-home day care provider…

and yes, i said in-home daycare provider!¬† …in-home daycare programs are often regarded as marginal, “fly-by-night” operations that may be alright in an emergency….but not as a “serious long-term¬†consideration”…because people think that “they’re just not as good as centers” or a mom/dad staying home with their children…nor are they viewed as “safe places”–you get the feeling that this is one of the most horrific decisions you can make for your children–tantamount to sending a kid cross-country on an orphan train (esp. from my parent’s generation) …like your kids will end up abducted, abused, neglected, abandoned, in the emergency room, dead in the street and on the nightly news if you leave them there!!!¬†¬†i heard the world saying, please report to the shame corner and turn in your parent card, now!

…this is not the case with our person, sharon–yes, her name has been changed to protect the innocent–or in the many cases of parents who use amazing in-home daycare providers each and every day…anyways, my wife did the first drop-n-go routine, through a river of tears (mind you, this is a person who cries over ¬†the voiceūüôā and i did the job three days later…and this is what happened…

i¬†entered the house, took off my shoes, and proceeded¬†downstairs to find my children…i¬†was excited to see them…arriving downstairs, i¬†made eye-contact with my son and daughter…they recognized me and smiled…but, they weren’t that excited¬†to see me…they stayed where they were–by the side (son) and in the arms (daughter) of sharon…i thought, what the hell is this?!¬† i’ve¬†been your father for nine months–you think that was a piece of cake–i¬†was there when you were colicky, when you wouldn’t sleep, when you had that “projectile shit”–the rapid fire,¬†.50 caliber shtuff that ‘took out’ the nursery room door–and this is how you repay me…how dare you?!¬† i¬†mean, i had envisioned my children¬†running from sharon, bounding towards me–their father–with outstretched arms (press play on can’t hold back¬†by survivor)…but, it didn’t happen…so, i made funny faces, talked to them, waved for them to come to me…but still, they stayed¬†with sharon…so, i hiked back upstairs, put my shoes on, went out to the¬†van and grabbed the wonder bar…so-to-pry my children off of their in-home¬†daycare provider!

…since those early days, we’ve seen and heard¬†all¬†about¬†the amazing things they’ve learned from sharon…sign language, “how to wear a helmet with style”, music, how to pronounce their “t’s”, please and thank-you’s, “how to help”, potty training–you name it…she is unbelievable …so, let me just¬†take this moment to say…thank you, thank you, thank you, sharon…for teaching our kids, for loving our kids like that…i am impressed and inspired…you’re the “+1” to my wife and i, you’re the best around…

thank you, girls

despite my last entry, this school year has been 1000x better than last year…

the overwhelming majority of the kids i have are ‘into the student gig’ and ‘on top of their jobs’ in the classroom…

it’s a good feeling, it’s the best feeling…especially when measured against last year’s trials and tribulations…

it’s a much-needed reprieve…so much so that i’ve dubbed it ‘my recovery year’…

and i’m thankful for it…

i’m also thankful for a group of girls that i had in my class last year…a group of girls that got unintentionally pushed aside and lost in the turmoil and craziness that shrouded the last school year…pushed aside, but not forgotten…you see, they deserve mentioning, they deserve recognition…for the way they showed up in my class last year…

their names are natalie, lindsay, erin and sarah…

and last year, at the end of every class they said, ‘thank you’ as they left the room…and it was a genuine salutation…though a bit shocking, by today’s standards in public education…

so, ladies…here’s to you, here’s me raising a glass of coca-cola to you right now…

it didn’t go unnoticed, it mattered…

and i appreciate it!

cheers!

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