However, as the weeks led up to this trip, it slowly became clear that I wasn't going to make it. My 35 week pregnant body has finally reached the point where walking, sitting, standing, or even sleeping is almost unbearable. Even though the campground is only 2 hours away and one of my favorite places to visit, I wouldn't be able to camp. (I felt much better staying home where I could cuddle up with my thousands of pillows on my huge, comfy bed, anytime I needed to.)
So, Micah decided to take our boys by himself--an 8 year old, a 6 year old, and a 3 year old, on a father-sons campout! On Wednesday evening he went out and bought all the groceries, then Thursday morning he packed up the van with all the camping gear, and off they went! I waved goodbye with uncertain trepidation, on the one hand knowing the boys would have the time of their lives, but on the other hand knowing my husband had his work cut out for him! Last time he went camping he took the two older boys and they had heaps of fun, but this time he was adding our toddler to the mix, which was going to change things a bit!
Thursday afternoon they arrived at Zions and set up camp, then spent the rest of the day playing in the Virgin river. Micah reported that all 3 boys had loads of fun building sand castles, covering themselves in mud, and jumping into the cold river to cool down. They saw "a million polliwogs" and some mule deer--the ones with the white booties, and lotsa lizards, they say. That evening they roasted hot dogs over an open fire and excitedly watched bats swirl overhead, scooping down for their evening meal of flying insects. They stayed up late that night telling stories in the tent and watching the large, waning moon.
I have to say that at this point I'm really proud of my husband for sticking it out til Saturday morning, because the next day things didn't go as smoothly. First of all, everyone was exhausted. Our six year old wanted to lay around camp and rest much of the day, but our 8 year old was anxious to go back to the river and play. Our 3 year old was happy exploring around camp, but needy and restless in his own ways. Micah was being pulled into three different directions for most of the day, which is overwhelming without a spouse to trade off with. Furthermore, he grew tired from all the little-people-poopings: There were several accidental poopings in pants, some long waits for toilet poopings, and a litte fella who pooped his nighttime diaper. This messy, pooping stuff, along with more sun and wind exposure than normal, and a rash my 6 year old developed on his heiny, left my husband a little overwrought.
I wasn't surprised when they rolled home in the mid-morning today, instead of later in the afternoon as they were expected. It turns out our 3 year old had woken up in the middle of the night with a fever, which meant my husband was up half the night taking care of him in the tent. He also threw up twice on the car ride home, which was a stressful experience, to say the least. Poor Micah looked very, understandably tired as he came staggering into the house.
"Did you guys have fun?" I asked cheerfully, as the boys came running down the stairs to where I was folding laundry.
"YEEEAAAAAH!" came three big, happy, whoops of excitement! I sat and listened for the next few minutes as they told me all the cool stuff they saw and did on their awesome campout with Dad!
Over the next few hours at home I assumed that Micah would go flop down on the bed and take a nap, and leave the kids to my tending. I assumed that he would "clock out" of his dad responsibilities, call break-time, and do some much-needed things for himself. I'm pretty sure that's what I would do if it was me in this situation.
But that's not Micah.
Instead, over the next few hours I watched as he kept on helping take care of our children. He helped me make food, he read stories, held our sick little boy while he slept, and even played card games with our 8 year old. Right now as I write this he is putting the kids to bed downstairs. He likes to read to them and sing to them, as he sweetly tucks them into bed for the night.
These are the kinds of things that make Micah an amazing father. He is gentle, patient, loving, nurturing, and 100% attentive to our children's needs. He loves them deeply, and shows genuine interest in everything they do. He has fun with them, and laughs with them, and even takes on exhausting camping trips by himself with them. I couldn't have asked for a better father for these boys, and I know these boys feel the exact same way.
It's days like these that bring tears to my eyes and remind me over and over how blessed I am to have Micah in my life.
Happy Father's Day to the perfect dad in our lives.
p.s. I realized that this time last year we were camping as a family at Ho'okena, Hawaii. *Swimming with dolphins and relaxing on the beach! My how times have changed!
p.s.s. I can't help but link back to the other Father's Day posts I've written, to honor the man I love. He's just so darn awesome! I love you Micah!
Fathers Day 2009 "Call Me Micah."
Father's Day 2010 "Mei-tai walks with Papa."
Father's Day 2012 "Micah."