Stay At Home, Dad

10 01 2010

So, two days ago, my wife, along with her mother, and 7 others (including my boss and his wife) left for a seven-day medical missions trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  I’ve been on many missions trips (well, probably about seven), and usually, since they are with the youth group I work with my wife stays home, to watch the kids while I’m away.  This time though, it is my wife’s first missions trip,  the first time she’s been away from the kids for this long, and the longest I’ve been with the kids all by myself.

Now, before you think this is simply about me whining about being a Dad-on-his-own (or a DOHO, as I like to call it), well, okay.  That’s a small part of it.  I mean, it is tough.  Keeping up the house, making breakfast, lunch, dinner, the numerous snacks that they seem to keep getting away with, starting movies, setting up (and playing practically entire levels of, because they’re just “too hard, Daddy!”) video games, changing diapers, wiping butts after the potty, yadda, yadda, yadda…

It’s tough work.  And before anyone says “well, I’m a mom, and I do that all the time!”  Know this:  I do this all the time too.  I’m a stay-at-home Dad two days during the “workweek” and my wife works on-call at a hospital, so I’m often fending for myself here on the home front.  But, there’s usually relief on the horizon.  The cavalry may take a while to get there, but back-up is always on the way…sometime.

And tonight, when I made a paper “ring-chain” to help the kids (and yeah, myself too) count down the number of days until Mommy returns, it really hit me, how long I still have to go until my wife returns… (Let’s ignore the fact that when she does return, she’s going to be exhausted, and not really going to be in the mood to “get back to the grind” right away either….)

But that’s honestly not the point of my writing here.  No, why I write now, is because I’m realizing the hard way (and the best way, I think that God could have possibly done so) what my wife does for me, for my family, and for service to God every time I’m in Saltillo or Mazatlan in Mexico, or Cedar Rapids in Iowa, or New Orleans, Louisiana, and this summer when I’ll be in Erkrath, Germany.

We need to recognize that in situations like this, staying home is not simply a matter of duty to our family, or to avoid amazingly expensive daycare/babysitting costs.  It’s not a burden, giving us reason to sigh and moan.  Being at home while a loved one is away serving God in a missions field is not a matter of us left behind being idle and feeling useless.

God called one of us to the missions field, and the other?  That one didn’t just stay home.  One of us was called to step up and serve the missions field here at home.  My staying home now, just as the many times my wife has stayed at home then (and I know will, in the future), is service to my creator.  It is service to those people in Honduras.  It is service to my wife.  It is service to my kids (although they’d most definitely say otherwise).

But what God’s revealing to me more and more with really, every hour I’m here doing this terrible job on my own, is that this isn’t just “the luck of the draw” that I’m home and my wife is gone.  God is asking me to serve.  And I can do so one of two ways:  begrudgingly, counting down the minutes (nay, the seconds!) until my wife can come home and relieve me from the stress I’ve gone through (remember, wiping butts, endless nights of kids refusing to go to bed…sitting through tearful bouts of “I miss Mommy”, etc…)

OR

I can take joy in knowing that God is working through my humble little family.  I can be encouraged, knowing that my wife is making a difference on the lower hemisphere of our planet, while I support her efforts back here in the north.  Knowing that God has chosen us to do His work.  And every butt I wipe, and every tear I wipe and every nose I wipe (yeah I do a lot of wiping) is making a difference for His kingdom, which is eternal, amazing, and so awesome compared to the wisp of a wisp of a wisp of mist that this week of trial (for both my wife and myself) is at the moment.

So, while I’m missing my wife like mad, and having trouble sleeping because I worry about her well-being and thinking about her more times a day than I have fingers and toes…I’m choosing the second option.  I’m grateful for the chance to serve God, wife and family.  I’m grateful that I’m getting to build into my kids in a way I don’t when my wife is here.  I’m grateful that my wife is building into God in a way that simply doesn’t happen unless you’re out on a limb for Him.

I’m grateful that God told me:  “Stay at home, Dad.”

OtakuMom’s missions trip in Tegucigalpa, Honduras is blogged about here. It is a multi-church effort that aims to bring badly needed medicines, dental help, and hope to some very hurting, very needy, and very-loved-by-God people.

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4 responses

10 01 2010
theconfessionsofaworkingmom

I love the ring-chain idea. I am all about having children be involved. We tend to underestimate what they can handle and interpret. I hope that time passes quickly for you. Your family is doing an amazing thing and you should be incredibly proud of that! Can’t wait to catch up more on your blog!

10 01 2010
otakudad

Thanks so much for reading! I checked out your blog too, and welcome you to this wonderfully complex world of parenthood! 🙂

Hang in there, and keep on writing! I’m woefully sporadic, yet find it great to release some of that stuff that simply doesn’t have an outlet elsewhere. 🙂

12 01 2010
KerryAnne

I was so touched by this L ! We are so proud of you and K and her Mom!!! Know that we are praying for all of you, and that we love you all so much. I am looking forward to seeing you and the girls on Thursday! Hang in there!

Love,
KAE

12 01 2010
otakudad

Thanks for reading it, KerryAnne! I’m proud of them so much, too! And thanks again for Thursday. You and Gary rock and are really helping me out sooooooo much! Thanks!

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