Friday, February 25, 2011

I Signed Up for This?

Special thanks to Jo Rozier for joining us as a guest blogger today.

That’s what my son likes to remind me, usually when he’s gripping a leg and pulling, while his sister is gripping an arm and pulling, and the dog is looking like he’d like to grip something…if only he had thumbs.

“…just remember Papa, you signed up for this…”

Funny, I don’t remember the widower, single parent, caregiver, dog catcher clause in the plethora of forms I’ve signed over the years. Certainly my marriage license didn’t have an expiration date on it. I’m sure I would have noticed. My kid’s birth certificates said nothing about parenting without a partner. They say all you need to know, you learned in kindergarten. Well I was gypped. My early reading primers taught me “See Dick run.” They never included the phrase, “change your father’s diaper” something I did again this weekend.

Everytime my son says those words “you signed up for this…,” and lately he’s been doing it a lot, I’m taken back. My usual banter gone. I just don’t know how to respond.

Because maybe when I looked my bride in the eyes and before God, family and friends promised to love her in sickness and in health, till death do us part; when I held up my then newborns and promised them I’d love them unconditionally and raise them in the “nurture and admonition” of the Lord; when I rushed back from Afghanistan, held my wife’s hand in ICU and whispered to her, I’m here now, you can rest; maybe when I realized I now had the opportunity to "honor my father and my mother" and to return just a portion of the decades of love and service my parents extended to me…maybe I did sign up for this.

I’m not telling my son he’s right…not yet. Wild animals can sense fear you know!


  1. Beautifully honest.

  2. I really like this post, because every one of us made decisions based upon the fact that we would have a partner to share the responsiblity of these things with! When my daughters give me that line too- I want to say not to do it alone!
    I just hope it is true that there is a God who will reward me for my actions!

  3. No kidding. I think it's a blessing that we can't see the future. Who would sign up for this willingly?

  4. Yes. When we get married we have no concept what the phrase 'til death do us part' might actually mean.

    My mind KNOWS it's better 'to have loved and lost' but my heart doesn't care. When the bottom drops out from under you and then you watch your spouse fall through it - it's traumatic. Recovering is hard work. Really hard.
    And hard is brutal sometimes.

    But good for you for realizing that we did sign up for hard.

  5. What a sweet post. Be especially proud that you are a caregiver. I was in that role for a long time, and although you feel your sanity slipping and it is exhausting beyond belief, you will never have to look back with regret. There is nothing more rewarding than giving love to the elderly and vulnerable. Give him all the love you have. God Bless you, and hang in there. This is God's work, and you have been chosen.