Ok, since I'm getting busier again, and I can't seem to remember to bring my journal with me to work, I'm going to have to publish these thoughts here. We're in the last few days (maybe even hours) before our baby is born, and I wanted to jot down how things are going. We're excited, first of all! I can't believe I get to be a father to another little spirit, a baby girl this time. All those same anxieties and worries that came up before Asher was born are coming back, with new thoughts of 'where will the second crib go?' and 'how will Ash react to having a sister?' and 'do I even remember how to hold a baby that small?' I feel confident in our ability to care for her, as Ash is still kicking and doing very well. :) It's just...I made so many mistakes with Asher (and am still making them!) and I want to do better as a father with Asher. Can I keep from making those same mistakes over with Leah? I love Asher, he's my little buddy and the greatest little kid I've ever known, and I hope I can love Leah just as much.
More than anything though, I find myself getting increasingly frustrated with the world around me - watching family members struggle with financial and other issues, the idea that someone like Obama could become president, that gas prices could go back up to unaffordable at the drop of a hat, that even members of the church don't seem to be understanding how vitally important protecting traditional marriage is, and many other issues. Don't get me wrong, I have great hopes and excitement for the future. I just wonder how I can convey that hope and excitement to my kids, and not focus so much on the negatives like I've been doing the last few months. I want to do better, especially with Family Home Evenings. I think those will be the key to grounding my kids in the gospel and showing them that we not only believe it, we live it. I have had some success in that area recently, and the FHE packets coming out from Primary are a HUGE help too. But I feel best when I'm teaching Asher and Lisa and myself about Joseph Smith's role as prophet of the restoration, or about temples, or reading scriptures together. I'll try to focus on doing that better in the next few weeks (we'll have plenty of time during those sleepless nights!) and see how things go.
I'm so grateful for the chance to even BE a dad. I know lots of guys don't get that opportunity, or waste it when they do get it. SO many stories have come up lately about terrible, terrible things happening to kids, and I just wish I could reach out and pull those kids into my home and keep them there. But I can't do that. What I can do is put my arms around those little ones that I do get to have in my home, and love them and raise them the best I can. I try to do that with Ash, tell him regularly what a good boy he is, and how much we love him. He's so smart - how many 2 year-olds do you know that can count to 40, know shapes, colors, can recite the alphabet and recognize letters on sight, AND can recognize Mickey Mouse characters, Thomas and friends characters, can recite lines from movies and tv shows (mostly Cars) and - most importantly - knows an Autobot and Decepticon symbol when they see one? :D Most of that's due to Lisa, she's done a fantastic job teaching him at every opportunity, and getting him to love reading books (though I take credit for teaching him about dinosaurs and Transformers, even if he calls every single yellow car he sees Bumblebee).
Aside from paternity anxiety, everything is going well. I love being a ward mission leader, seeing the missionaries bringing people to church, and then seeing the ward wrap their arms around and welcome new people into the ward is just the best. I'm also priveleged to work with our good bishop and the ward council, and I can honestly say they love the people in our ward and do everything they can to strengthen and support them. I've learned a lot from them over the last 5 months or so, and look forward to continue working in this calling and bringing people into and back into church.
Well, this has gone on for longer than I'd anticipated. If you've read this all the way through, email me and I'll send you a consolation gift. :)