In October of 2016 there was an art show in my living room. A fabulous art show. That was my new word back then, “Fabulous”. You have to drag the “A” out for a bit “Faaaahbuhlus”, like Dr. Kevin Elko does. He’s the guy that tells you, among other very useful things, to “be where your feet are”, which is solid advice. I’ll get back to that point.
So, it’s about 9:45, I’m tired to the bone and trying to point my night owl six-year-old in the direction of bed. Along the way he happens to notice a large stash of his original art work from prior school years in a corner of the living room. It had been recently sorted by his mother. The best of the best of the best to be kept forever and ever and two more months after that.
Upon seeing this stash of original creations my littlest man announces his discovery, VERY ENTHUSIASTICALLY, followed by the point that he wants to show it all to me………at 9:45 on a school night. I mentioned I was deliriously tired right? However, this is my 3rd child and I have learned a thing or two from his older brothers so I say, “ok”. Then I take a seat on the ottoman, which is precisely where he has instructed me to sit for his “art show”.
First creation from the stash, “The Rainbow Chicken”! That’s what he called it with absolute, unbridled, six-year-old enthusiasm, which cracked me up along with everyone else that heard him. This was followed by a very detailed description of when he drew (“created”) it, who his teacher was that year and on and on.
This went on for about 20 minutes, each piece described in great detail, me asking questions about each one, until the living room was covered in drawings, paintings and creations of all sorts ranging from elves, to boats, to sunsets and of course trains. Lots and lots of trains. But only one chicken.
It turned out to be a faaaahbulus event and he talked about it the next day, and the next. His “art show” and “The Rainbow Chicken”. Clearly he was proud of himself. Most important to my littlest man, his father was clearly proud of him, in his eyes he had gained my approval. Something we never outgrow. Every child craves theirs father’s approval, even after they are no longer a child.
Here is the thing………..
If that had been my first son or even my second son that art show never would have happened. I would have ushered him off to bed with an “l’m tired, let’s do it tomorrow”. Knowing full well they would likely forget and what ever “it” was would never happen. But, that was not my first son or my second, it was my third. The surprise baby. The one that showed up shortly after his parents had both turned 40. Several years after they gave all the baby stuff away. The one that has completed our family in ways his parents could never have imagined and only God could orchestrate. That’s how it works.
This art show happened in part because he was six and very excited but it also happened because of my oldest son that was downstairs. The one it seems I brought home from the hospital just last week but is now almost 6 feet tall and will leave for college in only 4 more years. The one everyone told me would be grown in the blink of an eye. He is the one that I learned on, he will always be the one I learn on because as long as he is here he will always be my oldest son. By default, the one I learn on. He has taught me, among other valuable things, that they don’t stay little very long. They don’t.
I have done a few things right along the way but I do have regrets. I regret not spending more time soaking up or stopping more often for my oldest sons art show type moments when he was younger. But, I have gotten better about that over the years. Honestly, it all happened faster than I ever imagined it would. Much faster and it just seems to gain speed. I know, y’all told me it would. You were right. I’ve got it now.
Consider this from a father with only 15 years of fathering experience that is closing in on half a century in a hurry. “Be where your feet are”! Especially if you have children. Stop anticipating tomorrow and stop dwelling in yesterday. Tomorrow will be here fast enough and you can’t change a single thing about yesterday. So, focus on “today” and the simple blessings each day holds. Give your attention, when you can, to things like art shows in your living room or your little man’s request to “play with me” in the sandbox.. You don’t have to stop for an hour, even a few minutes and a hug pays dividends and tells them they are important. Just do it.
As for The Rainbow Chicken, it is framed and on my wall. It’s an original . Not another one like it in this whole big wide world and it’s all mine. It reminds me to slow down and pay attention. It’s faaaahbuhlus.
Get in the boat. Do your part. “Be where your feet are”.
1:6 / Nose to Toes / #16
(Proverbs 27:1 – “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know not what a day may bring forth”.)
(James 4:14 – “You do not even know what will happen tomorrow! What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.)