When Relationships are Messy

Apr 9, 2013 by

dad and daughter

Years ago when we were working with students, Jerolyn and I helped out with a youth convention. Jerolyn was very pregnant with our son, Shay, and Lauren, our oldest was a two year old toddler. Flying home from the convention, Jerolyn was exhausted and asked me to hold Lauren on my lap while we flew. I, too, was tired but being the “good” dad of course I obliged without hesitation and probably with bravado took on the request.

Now as Jerolyn handed Lauren to me, she cautioned that Lauren said her tummy hurt and that I should get the barf bag ready, just in case. I looked at her, raised my hand, and promptly and, as I recall, pompously announced to my loving sweet wife, “I’ve got it.”

Side lesson here men, I was young and stupid. Did not listen to my wife, which I have long since learned to do…a little better, but that is for another blog.

About the time I got Lauren to lay her head on my chest and I closed my eyes, I heard Lauren begin to make a gagging sound…uh oh. I grabbed the barf bag which I did NOT have ready and attempted to catch what Lauren was “giving” me on the outside of the bag. To say the least it was not working. I also had a cardigan sweater on, and what was not going onto and off the bag was going down the front of me, and into the pouch the buttoned cardigan was creating. I could not believe how much could come out of a toddler’s body. She unloaded all from the tips of her toes up.

When we finally finished cleaning the mess, and the two of us, as best as possible. We settled back to “endure” the rest of the flight. What was my reaction? Would I shove her away and give her to her mom, showing her how awful she was to throw up all over me? What action would I take to demonstrate what I wanted to communicate to her? I took Lauren and placed her in my lap, both of us messy and smelly. I held her tight, showed her how much I loved her and that everything was going to be all right.

That story reminds me of when our relationships get messy and the lessons we need to learn or remember….

What lessons can you learn from this story?

Check back in on Thursday for a look at our thoughts.



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