Monday, December 7, 2015

The Snowman

I wrote the story below last February.
This past 2 weeks, the stomach flu has swept through our entire family more than once. I'll spare you the gruesome details.
But the way Ryan carried our family through it even when he was feeling awful himself reminded me of this story I had written... So I'll share it now!

{Read as an expression of appreciation, not an essay on gender roles ;)}

Two months after Christmas, I decided it was time to take down the last remaining visual reminder of the season in our home: A set of 5 Russian matryoshka dolls - snowmen of, obviously, varying sizes.

While I am a chronic procrastinator, that's not why these dolls lingered on the mantelpiece. It wasn't that I just "hadn't gotten around to" removing this family of snowmen; These snowmen just represent something beyond Christmas for me, occupying a very sentimental place in my heart.

4 years ago, Ryan picked this particular Russian doll set out for me (in Russia) because he knows my warmth towards all things Christmas. So, that's one piece of my sentimental attachment: knowing that he knew that little thing about me.

There's also the intricacy of the hand painting on these particular dolls. The brush the painter used must have been smaller than any brush I've ever had. Each detail on these snowmen is perfect. I love considering the care that went into each individual doll in the set. These dolls could only have been prepared at a slow and intricate pace that I long to experience more of in my life.

Today, I discovered another layer to my appreciation for the snowman "family" as I unfolded a simple story to guide my son through the stacking and nesting process.

I let the snowmen represent members of our family:

"Put the Taylor snowman inside the Rylen snowman. It's like he's helping her - carrying her."

"Now put the Rylen AND Taylor snowmen inside of mommy. That's just like how she carried you before you were born. And how she takes care of you now."

Lastly, we put all of those snowmen inside the big Daddy snowman.
And it got me thinking.

All year, as we wait for next Christmas, the Daddy snowman carries all of the other snowmen.
If our son was a little older, here is what I would want to explain to him…

Daddy has a big job in our snowman family.
We each have a job in helping to carry each other…
But then Daddy has to somehow help carry all of us.
God has given Daddy a big job.

Here's how I see Daddy doing an awesome job of carrying us, just like the snowman Daddy:

Daddy goes to work every day so that we can have money.
He spends that money so that we get to have a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear, and toys to play with.
Daddy also has to do extra work to ask people for some of that money.
That can be really hard, for lots of reasons.
But he does it for us.

Daddy gets up early in the morning so that the Mommy snowman can get some rest.
Daddy knows that the Mommy snowman has to carry the Rylen & Taylor snowmen during the day, so he helps Mommy to be strong enough.
Sometimes Daddy even gets up in the night to help Rylen or Taylor so that the Mommy snowman doesn't get too tired to carry them through the day.

Daddy talks to the Rylen snowman in a way that helps him to learn. He is patient and shows him how to do things. He involves Rylen in things he is doing. And, maybe most importantly, he plays with Rylen. Right now, that's what Rylen needs. Daddy carries Rylen by taking care of those needs, and acknowledging that they matter - That Rylen matters.

Daddy knows that the Taylor snowman is the smallest one of them all. Sometimes the little ones need something different to help them grow. They need eye contact, beard snuggles, and opportunities to see the world from a fresh angle. Daddy makes sure Taylor has those things.

It's hard work being a Daddy snowman.
Sometimes the other snowmen are fun and awesome.
Sometimes they are heavy.
Either way, Daddy has to help carry them.
And our Daddy does an awesome job at that.

Thank you, Daddy. We love you.

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