Upon returning from Belize, I settled into the mundane – work, home, church, repeat. My journal reflects an intended effort to invest more deliberately into marriage, fatherhood, faith and mission, but I can’t say whether I made progress in this effort or not, or how to measure it if I did.
Pretty soon most of a year had passed and in September, C broke his little leg while climbing on the swing in the back yard. Of course this was a catastrophe for new parents, and being in my profession, I made sure that M & I were giving the same explanation as to how it happened when we took him to the ER. (One legal definition of “child abuse” is an injury with conflicting accounts of how it happened.) We got through all that without any memorable drama and he healed.
In the beginning of ’03 the U.S. named the common enemy after 9-11 to be Iraq and went to war. M and I became pregnant with our second child, and in March of ’03 I returned to Belize with the mission team. I cooked again, but other people cooked as well this time, and some minor improvements were made to the kitchen.
We took a canoe excursion into a Mayan cave that still held some bones from ancient human sacrifices, met the guide’s monkey, and two of our team members decided they should be married. A good and memorable time.
I returned home to a glowing pregnant wife and a hot summer. With the exception of one week in Phoenix in continuing legal training, where I stayed at a hotel with Pres. Bush and the Chicago Bulls, I was at home working and waiting for Lucas Hogue to make his grand entrance. He was due in August, and I had one simple request for his expected due date: Let us sleep through the night and do this after a good night’s sleep. Our request was granted. We calmly drove to Conway Regional Hospital around 10 a.m. on August 23rd, 2004.
M was admitted, we were placed in a room and the doctor began monitoring contractions and L’s heart rate. The two were related, as L’s heart rate dropped drastically with each contraction and our anxiety levels rose. As the good doctor began efforts to speed up the delivery to avoid L’s heart rate dropping too far, she discovered that the umbilical cord was wrapped twice around his neck and was tightening with each contraction. We feared the worst and hoped for the best.
The room was tense and those of us in it were a little panicked. The doctor explained that if L did not come out with the next push, she would have to do an emergency C-section. M, and I and the doctor paused briefly and prayed, and then I held my breath and M gave a final push, which produced our second son. I took him, cut the cord, and he’s been generally compliant since that day.
That October we visited M’s parents in Morgan City, Louisiana, and I did some kayaking in the swamps and lakes of the area. We were a complete four person family now, and we were determined to stay just that. DMCL.
He’s in eight grade already, and the older one is a junior in high school. Time flies when you’re the older one.
I once read a book titled “To Have or To Be,” by Eric Fromm. The point of the book was that people should focus on what they are rather than what they have. For example:
Being a motorcycle owner is different from simply having a motorcycle. Being the owner means actively keeping it up, riding it, taking responsibility along with it. Having it simply involves its presence in my garage.
More importantly, being a dad and husband is quite a different task from having a wife and kids. I was, and I am, intent on being the dad to two smart sons and a wonderful wife.