The tough thing about school starting is that I no longer have the option of talking to my kids during the day. I’ll tell you, dear reader, the backstory on that, just so you can understand the irony in that statement.
My speed during the nine hours or so I spend at work tends to fluctuate between all-out and breakneck. I’m a busy guy with a lot to do, which means there is little time for things like phone calls. Or eating, for that matter. And yet every Monday through Friday between the months of June and early August, my phone will ring approximately every seven minutes and I will hear the voice of one of my children on the other end.
Why they call is a matter of interpretation. Sometimes the reasons are practical in nature, such as the time a while back when I had to give directions on how to get a peanut butter and jelly sandwich out of the DVD player (not the first time that had happened). Some are general, such as the times when I was called to be informed about what was for supper or what games I would be participating in later that evening (for the record, I was seldom allowed input in either).
Most times, though, the reasons were simpler. More heartfelt. My children would call just to let me know what was going on, what they were doing and thinking and planning. They didn’t need advice our counsel, they just wanted to hear my voice. They wanted to know I was there, even if I wasn’t. And though I was nearly always in the middle of something when my phone rang, and though (I will admit this only if you keep it between us) there were times when I uttered an inward groan upon receiving the thirty-seventh call of the day, I always answered. Always.
Because you don’t avoid your children. Ever.
The truth was that I did more than get used to these hourly and sometimes by-the-minute updates about life at home. I learned to crave them. They brought me the comfort of knowing all was well and a sense that my children not only missed me, but wanted to talk to me. I knew the preciousness of that sense of belonging. The teenage years were not too far off in the grand scheme of things. I may be invaluable now, but I knew I could well be a nuisance then. I vowed to enjoy it while it lasted.
But now the summer is gone. We’re all two weeks into a new school year and the unavoidably frantic pace it brings, one that has already seemed to envelope us. I still go about my work; the pace is more frantic now, more all-out and breakneck. And the phone in my pocket has grown silent.
My kids have too much to do now. They can’t call.
There are no peanut butter and jelly emergencies. No quorum calls for supper or kickball in the backyard. No updates on how many butterflies were outside or how much water was in the creek. No hellos and I-love-yous and see-you-in-a-little-whiles.
I would suppose God feels the same way sometimes. In our seasons of rest and relaxation, of happiness, it’s easy to give Him a call. No doubt He’s busy, but never too busy to talk. He’s glad to hear from us. He knows how precious that sense of belonging is. But then those seasons end and others arrive, those times when things seem too busy or too stressful and calling Him becomes something we can’t do now but maybe later.
I wonder if I sometimes make God feel the way I feel now. I’m thinking yes.
Of course it’s the little things that have changed in my family—the big things are As Is. They’re still my kids and I’m still their Daddy. But I miss getting their calls, and I’m really hoping they miss giving them.
And I think that rather than continue to write about this, I’ll go pray it. I’ll call my heavenly Dad. And I think I’ll tell Him the same thing my daughter told me in a note she snuck into my lunch this morning.
I’m good. I hope you are, too. I love you millions!
This post is part of the blog carnival on Hope, hosted by Bridget Chumbley. To read more, please visit her site.