I have made an observation of late. It is obvious to me that for various societal, economic and cultural reasons, a lot of parents are about a decade older that Lozanne and I were when they start to have children. I have also observed that they seem to be more tired and indeed harried than I remember. Looking after the every need of infants and very young children was and continues to be all consuming and a challenge. Dare I dwell on the daunting prospect of “older” parents dealing with the continuous battle of wits that characterizes the teenage years?
Lozanne gave birth to four children within an eight year period from the time she was eighteen and twenty-six. She enjoyed every minute of her “baby years”. I was a father at the age of twenty-one. We both remember those years fondly and I dare say they were the happiest years of our lives. I marveled at how Lozanne could cook supper with one hand while she held a baby in the other. I remember enjoying changing, holding and feeding those beautiful babies in the early hours of the morning during the nights when it was my turn. We had so much to see, talk about and share in those hours. I don’t remember being tired. Indeed being tired is one of the realities of middle and old age, not of youth. One of the great things about babies and toddlers is that most of the time they have to be held.
I miss holding babies, but I gracefully admit I could no longer properly do the job. I miss carrying babies and toddlers around at family and public events. A young father is usually the strongest in the family and is even made stronger by carrying around a dynamic moving weight of twenty, thirty or forty pounds. I remember so well the smell of freshly washed hair and the aroma of baby oil and baby powder. I remember the intimate conversations with infants who could communicate in so many ways except speech and then the fascinating babble of toddlers and the clipped descriptive language of two and three year olds as they whispered in my right ear. Much less prevalent in my mind are the memories of frequent illnesses, sleepless nights and dirty diapers. Those were realities, but are by far over-shadowed by the joys of youthful parenthood. In Isaiah 46: 3-4 we discover that our loving and all-powerful God feels the same way.
3 “Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, And all the remnant of the house of Israel, Who have been upheld by Me from birth, Who have been carried from the womb:
4 Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you.
We who are believers are part of the remnant of the house of Israel. In these two beautiful verses we learn that as loving fathers we are simply emulating the loving actions of our Heavenly Father, the Father who made us. He holds us in the womb. He holds us from birth and he promises to carry us not just as long as we are little children, but until we are old and gray. Now that is a loving Father...my loving Father. I pray He is or will soon become your loving Father.
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