forty-two

  • Jan 31, 2011

Years ago, when we took violin lessons from an intense, prestigious teacher, I pled with her to take four year old Xander on as a student. “I don’t know,” she said warily, “your boys have been great students, but parents tend to burn out by the time they get to the fourth child. I really prefer to teach first and second children.”

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Not me! I insisted. I promised to exude the same dedication with all my children as I had with my first. And because she was/is a total sweetheart beneath the strict teacher exterior and we had become close friends, she agreed.

I lasted about a year. And in the middle of one memorable lesson, where I tried to calm Mary in the midst of her eighteen month long screaming fit, I confessed to not practicing with Xander for the entire month, burst into tears myself and we decided to part ways.

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It wasn’t all bad. That change is what led all of my children to instruments and teachers that they loved and I slowly staggered back on the road to sanity (with more than a few detours). But one phrase haunted me–

‘parents tend to burn out by the time they get to the fourth child.’

I wanted each of my children to feel loved and cherished and well taught. But parents do burn out; our energy ebbs and wanes. And that is why I am profoundly grateful for a man that picks up where I leave off, that still plays giant squid on Sunday mornings and reads a story on nights that I am too exhausted to read Green Eggs and Ham even one more time.

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We are his primary interest, his pride and joy. And that’s why he plies math worksheets on everyone who isn’t in Calculus and it’s also why he consents to sharing a birthday present with Xander– a massive Lego Technic Crane.

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After opening it, they spent the entire afternoon assembling all 1123 pieces on Erik’s office floor.

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yes, this was shot at 6400 iso– that’s why it’s so grainy. But still kinda cool, yes?

Happy Birthday my darling man. You only get better with age.

February 2, 2011

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7 Comments

  1. Reply

    Kevin Linkous

    February 1, 2011

    Amen to that. Erik you are a great example for so many men of what a good father should be. I don’t have many guy friends or an older brother and do value your example, humor, experience and insight on life. Thanks for always being a great friend and for being the type of man that my girls love as well ” prince Erik” is who they want me to be all the time at home.
    I like to think I am a cool dad so the fact they want me to play you is a great compliment, even if they get shy around you. (Eden did totally love cuddling with you on Saturday though:)
    Happy birthday it’s nice to know that if all five of those boys turn out to be as good as their dad the world will be a pretty cool place and their will be some mighty happy kids out there.

  2. Reply

    Lisa

    February 1, 2011

    I would say you both were perfectly meant to be together. Do those munchkins of yours realize just how great their parents are? It’s so great to see a father who loves being a dad! Happy Birthday indeed!

  3. Reply

    Vennesa

    February 1, 2011

    This post makes me smile!
    And I’m glad you said that about the 4th child. I feel the burn out! But now I’ve resolved to make the extra effort and “endure to the end” πŸ™‚ through numbers four and five. Though I do think the last one gets more attention. It’s number 4 I worry about.

  4. Reply

    Tracy

    February 2, 2011

    Happy Birthday!! What a lovely post. ..and HB to you today also….

  5. Reply

    Mitchell Family

    February 2, 2011

    Happy Birthday Erik and Michelle too. Great post.

  6. Reply

    Linn

    February 2, 2011

    Happy Birthday to your wonderful husband! I feel grateful to be married to one so much like your Erik.

    And Happy Birthday to you Michelle! I hope you have the day you deserve.

  7. Reply

    Cath

    February 2, 2011

    Erik – Happy Birthday! Those kids have a great daddy. And Michelle – this post is worth a conversation on one of our runs. I think it connects to your comment on our forum thread about powerful women. Something to discuss later… xo

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