I'm convinced the most beautiful hearts in the world live in moms. Hey, I'm a dad, so it's not like I'm looking to short change us here. But being a dad has given me a front row seat to watching a mom's life. Most days I get up from that seat feeling incredibly awed. And honestly, I walk away from that seat a lot of times feeling like this dad's heart needs to be a little more like a mom's heart.
I watched a friend's kids play the other day. They had giant smiles on their faces. These smiles, they weren't just happy smiles. They were smiles that said I feel safe, I feel loved and I feel like I'm perfectly placed in a world where too many kids feel hopelessly out of place. I told this friend she's a good mom. I told her that her kids are complete reflections of the love she pours into them. Her response? She told me that's her job as a mom, to make them feel safe and loved.
I thought that was an odd response. Dismissively humble. The more I thought about it, though, the more I got what she was saying.
I think it's the mom in our house that helped me get it. Katie loves our boys with all her heart. And what she does so much better than the dad in our house is she loves them on the hard days. On those rare days when it's challenging to love them - not because they're more unlovable but because the rest of the world sucks the ability to love anything clean out of you - she never abandons the idea that it's her job to keep them feeling safe and loved.
Me, I'm afraid when parenting gets to feeling like a job, I disappear more often than his non-mom hearted dad likes to admit.
Do you want to know what our boys' favorite words are when mom's not home? They are, "Dad, when is mom getting home?"
I don't take it personal. They don't always ask because they're hungry, naked, unbathed or in need of immediate first aid from the pummelings unloaded on each other with xbox controllers all day. Often that's the case, but not always. There's just an inherent sense of security that fills the house when mom's home. Shoot, when Katie's not home, even the dog burrows himself under 7000 protective layers of half eaten cushions and frayed blankets only to emerge and pee in excitement at the front door the second her car pulls into the neighborhood entrance.
Don't get the wrong picture here. It's not like I'm a walking safety hazard of a dad. Social services might be interested in visiting us when I'm home alone with the boys, but I think they'd return to their offices without the kids. They might step in dog pee on the way out the door. They might shake their head a time or two and ask, "when is mom getting home?" But in the end I think I'd meet a standard that would keep me out of jail and the boys out of foster care. But I guess most days the boys are looking for a higher parenting standard than one that allows dad to keep custody of them.
From the time our boys were just seconds old Katie's met that standard. She's responded to their tears, bruises, and distresses of every kind. And Lord do I mean every kind. And it's not because dad can't do it, but because mom's are built with these hearts that tell them they are the only ones equipped to do it. Maybe it's part of the bond that happens when mom and kid hang out together for 9 months before anyone else in the world gets to lay eyes on that kid. All I know is "moms know best" isn't just a phrase moms use to keep dads from interfering in a mom's world. It's a mantra that lives front and center on the heart of almost every kid I've ever met.
I'm not useless. If there's a Lebron James dunk that just has to be seen or an Odell Beckham Jr. catch Madden 2018 can't for the life of it figure out how to replicate, you're going to here "dad, come here, you've got to see this!" But when it comes to our boys thinking they can actually fly like Lebron, miraculously snag balls out of the air like Beckham Jr., they get that from their mom. They get it when she reads to them every night before they go to bed. When she insists they read on their own every, single, day. The words in these books were once someone else's dreams. On the days when Katie is tired and would probably rather do a million other things, she refuses to skip these dreams being transferred to our boys.
I'm not useless. When the boys need disciplined, many times I'm the one to deliver it. But when the boys need heard in that discipline, when they don't want someone skipping the step of talking things out with them before handing down the sentence, they have their mom. You see, talking things out sometimes requires hard work. It takes a parent who understands this is my job. Some days I don't want to work, I just want to raise good boys. Katie, more often than I do, understands raising good boys is hard work. And she shows up every, single, day.
I'm not useless. I can laugh and wrestle and fart with the boys as good as any dad out there. I show these boys every day life doesn't have to be so serious. Thank God Katie's here to show them sometimes life is serious. You can't always fart or wrestle your way out of it. Katie shows up to her mom job every, single, day with a realness that keeps our boys rooted in the reality life is up and down, it's happy and frown, it's devil and clown. Life isn't about pretending the day is something it's not. It's about navigating the day with who we are and what we have and knowing beyond any doubt both are enough. Katie never lets our boys forget they are enough.
And I'm not useless - because I love God. And because I love God I was smart enough to listen to my wife when she said God wanted us to have kids. God's voice pouring into her turned into two sons pouring life into us. But returning that gift and pouring life into them requires a constant and steady heartbeat. One that pumps love and energy and hope every, single, day. It's not a good thing for any life when the heart decides to take a break. That's why God gave our family Katie. It's why God gave my family my mom when I was a kid. It's why God gave your family your mom.
Because mom's get it. Some days its a tough job to keep kids feeling safe and loved. They get there are no days off. And the way they honor that job, the ways they show up and do it in realness - every, single, day - that's the greatest expression of love I've ever had a chance to see.
That's why this is one special day. Happy Mother's Day to the mom who expresses that love in our house. Happy Mother's Day to the moms who do or have expressed it everywhere.