Son, You’re Going to Make Daddy Cry

What a day it’s been…

I thought of just leaving you with that line and then thought better of it.  OK, I’ll explain.  As you both know, I do not discuss the details of my day job on this blog.  It is not fair to the people with whom I work.  However, in oblique terms (there’s an SAT word for you) I will tell you about why I love what I do.  It might not ever keep me in the lifestyle to which my mind wishes it would become accustomed but I challenge any both of my friends honestly to tell me they love their jobs as much as I love mine.  More to the point, nobody has more fun with his job than I do.  I may wake up on the wrong side of the bed (hardly likely since my wife holds firm to her side like the cement shoes of a rat at the bottom of the East River.  Bad image.  Sorry.  I might not have enough coffee.  Is there ever enough?  I might hit the worst traffic in North Texas (and it’s notoriously evil).  But the moment I arrive at work I get energized.  I am a high school teacher.  My students are one of the great joys of my life.  They make me laugh, bring a smile to my face, challenge me to see things in bizarre ways.  I cry with them, I feel pain with them, I celebrate with them.  Though they are not mine, they are mine for the few hours a day we are together and I love them like my own.

So I’m one of those obnoxious “techie” teachers.  Truth is, our school has an amazingly well-thought out social media and laptop policy.  It makes sense.  The kids don’t complain.  We give them appropriate freedom and appropriate restraints.  But the best part is that the teachers are encouraged to become part of the school’s social media scene.  I tweet throughout the day — mostly funny selfies or scenes of school life with awesome captions.  I am, in a sense, everywhere I need to be and the students are reassured by my presence (at least I like to think).  This morning the school’s director of social media offered me an opportunity to take it to the next level.  Tomorrow we’re starting a “TeacherTakeover” experiment.  Yours truly has been given the keys, as it were, and is being given a chance to drive the school car.  In other words, I’ll be the one posting on behalf of the school’s official accounts for the day.  I am beyond overjoyed.  This is a particular interest of mine — media relations and education — and Ive already started spreading the word.  It’s going to be a blast.  It helps that we have the best kids on the planet.  It’s almost like that time the nurse left the key to the narcotics cabinet on my bedside tray.  Wait, that never happened.

He's got it!

He’s got it!

So what’s with the title?  Well, something I love even more than my job is being a dad.  My own two actually kittens are the real joy of my life and it is with them that I have even more fun than any man should be allowed to have.  For the past few years my wife and I have been diligently trying, with varying levels of patience, to get the both of them into a habit of reverence.  It’s been frustrating to watch them at Sunday mass (forget about weekdays) as they fidget, roll around, beat each other with the bulletins, and generally annoy the other parishioners.  The thing is we can’t give up.  Sooner or later, we figure, they’ll get it.  Something will just click.  What’s been almost as tough is our struggle to get them to adopt a posture of personal prayer as we try teaching them our devotion to the rosary and other “home” prayers.  They’ve gotten better but only to the point where they’ll gleefully fall asleep as I pray the rosary in bed at night with them.  Whatever, I’ll take it.

Tonight, however, something was different.  My daughter, exhausted from a busy day, did fall asleep pretty quickly.  Before she did, though, she made sure to mention her prayer intentions.  And they were so cherubic.  “I want to pray for Daddy’s friend Dan, and for all the people who are sick (apparently every invalid on the planet), and, oh, and for a new baby — a boy and a girl.”  More on that topic in another post.  Don’t get excited, it’s not what you’re thinking.  But after her list of supplications I climbed into the bottom bunk of their toddler sized bed to lie down with Sonny Boy.  He had some intentions too which took a few minutes.  I began praying, my leg cramping on me every few seconds.  Good Lord, these beds are not comfortable.  One mystery down.  Two mysteries down. I was starting to fall asleep myself but Son was wide awake.  Actually, was he?  I almost couldn’t tell.  And then he spoke.

“Daddy, can I pray the next decade?  I’ve been practicing at school.”

My heart just about melted.  All this time I thought he wasn’t paying attention and that I wouldn’t be able to reach him and here he was quietly paying attention and letting God reach him.  “Sure, Son, go for it!”  He started out.  First there was silence as he asked me “Daddy, you have to announce the mystery for me.”  OK, done.  Then he started to pray.  “Our Father…  Wait,” he said.  “What is it, pal,” I asked.  “It’s one Our Father, ten Hail Mary’s, and a Glory Be, right?” he asked.  “Absolutely, Son, absolutely,” I said back quietly.

And like that a day that was glorious to begin with got ten times better.  Sometimes God knows exactly what we need when we need it.  Duh.  He’s God.  He always knows exactly what we need when we need it.  Sometimes, rather, He gives us a chance to be calm and still and to let Him Be Him.

Deo Gratias!

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