Tuesday, August 17, 2010

In Celebration of Fathers

Recently I was privileged to attend a birthday party for Lewis. Lewis celebrated his two-year milestone with a huge gathering in the park. Over 80 people were on hand to sing "Happy Birthday" to Lewis for this was a very special day. Lewis was born premature and his chance of survival was very low. After months in the neo-natal intensive care unit, followed by more than a year of intensive therapy, hospital visits, and surgeries, Lewis became two.

In his short life Lewis has developed certain likes and dislikes. For instance, he likes trains; he dislikes sitting still. He likes "Curious George" the monkey; he dislikes getting his face washed. He likes trucks; he dislikes taking a nap. He likes the TV remote; he dislikes "time outs." He likes "Frosty," the pet dog; he dislikes being cuddled. He is a typical boy. He still faces an uphill health battle in that he has never developed the ability to eat or drink on his own. All of his nourishment is delivered via a feeding tube inserted into his stomach. He carries around a small backpack that contains his food and the pump that provides his life-giving liquid. This backpack slows Lewis down, the weight keeping him from all-out running. Oh, that reminds me, he likes to run; he dislikes walking.

Lewis's mom and dad, grandpas and grandmas pulled all the stops for this special celebration of life. There were the obligatory balloons, presents, and cake. In honor of the birthday boy, a train was there for rides, and the cake was a "Thomas the Train" cake. But, perhaps best of all, Lewis was free of his backpack for the afternoon. He was in his glory! He ran, he laughed, he chased, he rode, he laughed, and he played.

As I watched, I noticed an interesting thing: Lewis's dad was always nearby. He hovered just far enough to give Lewis his freedom, but close enough to be there if something would go wrong. Whenever dad was called away for a chore, one of the grandpas took his place. There was always a dad nearby -- just in case. Sitting on the outside of the shelter was the patriarch of the family -- Lewis' great-grandfather. He watched over his clan with eyes that had watched over many a child through the years. He smiled as he saw the torch passed to the younger dads.

Dads, no matter what our personal life is like, our family is job one. We watch over them, giving them the freedom to falter, but we are always there to build up. What a joy that is! Let us never tire of that.


Anonymous said...

It always amazes me when I hear a story like this. I have a variety of emotions. Since I never had the opportunity to raise a child with special needs, I can’t relate to all the challenges that must come with it. I can’t imagine how much time and energy would go into such a task. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to always give up everything that I’ve grown accustom to in order to be there when needed for that special needs child.

Oh yes. I said it always amazes me when I hear such a story. What amazes me? It’s how great God is. It amazes me that God always knows what we need. It amazes me that God knows what the special needs child needs. And it amazes me how He gives the parents of that special needs child all the tools they need, including the patience, the knowledge, the will, and the spirit to do the job. But what amazes me most is that I’m sure that the parents of Lewis wouldn’t trade places with me or any other parent if they had the choice. God is good. Thank God for His goodness. And God bless the parents of Lewis and all special needs children.

agedwirehead said...

God bless parents.

I have had cause over the last couple of years to go through my father's papers. Although he passed some years ago, I have long neglected this task. My father (of 5 boys) was a very busy christian minister, missionary, evangelist, teacher, Church leader, and trumpet player.

Although he was busy as we boys were growing up, I have found out he was a lot closer and more involved in our lives than I ever expected. The number of letters regarding one or another his boys is quite substantial. Many of these letters were not just current, but looked far into each of our futures. He had a fine understanding of each of our metal.

And looking at my brothers and our children, not to mention those in his churches, my father's Christian witness is evident, although the work of the Holy Ghost is far more wonderful. How marvelous it is when a father is filled with His comfort.