What happens when the parents are gone

When I got married, I suddenly found myself an uncle of a 3-year-old niece and a 1-year-old nephew, Ellison and Burk. I have just recently reached the stage of familiarity where they won’t scream or run away in my presence. Every month or two, Jenni and I have the privilege of giving mommy and daddy a night off, so that we can have real fun with Ellison and Burk. We dance. And we play don’t-let-the-balloon-hit-the-ground. And walk-over-Uncle-Chad-like-he’s-a-bridge. And jump-off-the-couch-or-maybe-more-like-fall-off-the-couch-and-try-to-catch-Uncle-Chad-off-guard.

These kids are seriously adorable. Check out this pic.


I wish I had caught some footage of our dancing. This is the only time when Jenni will allows me to dance my way too. It’s apparently embarrassing in other settings. But it’s great when you’re dancing to the WINX soundtrack.

But that WINX TV show? That’s not what I watched as a kid. Yu-gi-Oh, Pokemon, and Arthur were my staples. I felt like the highest moment of inner conflict in this show was a fear of the dark. But it doesn’t matter the plot line, I was awfully distracted by the show. You put a show on, and you can’t help but watch it. Must. Know. What. Happens. To. The. Pixies.

I think my favorite part was the bedtime routine that we got to be a part of. We took the kids upstairs to brush their teeth, with safe-to-swallow toothpaste, of course. Daddy had warned us that Burk may not brush his teeth very well, and that he sometimes had to pin him down to get his teeth brushed. But we wouldn’t have to do that. Burk did a pretty good job. We got them a cup of water, which Ellison needed exactly in the center of the floor. And then we knelt down at the top of the stairs to say our prayers. Even little Burk knew to fold his hands and close his eyes. And it felt so neat to be saying prayers with this two little kids. They knew what prayer was. That they were talking to Heavenly Father. I felt so blessed to see a small part of this righteous family. I couldn’t help but think to the scripture:

Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.

I knew that their family was founded on principles of “faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.”

This came at a moment when I needed it most. I have been feeling a little overwhelmed with school and work, and the prospects of starting a family seemed scary. I was worried too that I would have to give up my quiet mind time, or whatever you want to call it. And I’m not there yet, but I bet you probably do. But I knew, kneeling down, that this was so much more important. I knew that God gives grace to parents raising children—more than any other task. I’m grateful for this example of righteous parents that I have to look up to.

Looking forward to parenting!

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