Family

Hand to Mouth

I think because, as a man of course, I never breastfed our children, I love to watch them eat. Micah mostly uses his hands, while Gabriel at times struggles with his fork and Lindsay and Jacque skillfully attack their plates, avoiding with precision things like mushrooms.

Maybe this pleasure finds itself in primal nature. Thousands of years ago I’d have left the cave, killed something, and brought it back. Today, I leave our warm house and drive to a store, where I purchase food I didn’t have to kill or grow, and bring it back. About as primitive as it gets is when I cook the meat on my BBQ grill, which I didn’t have to light by rubbing sticks together. Nope, just turned the gas on and tapped the ignition switch.

Small Ice Box

When we first moved from Toledo, we left behind our large refrigerator, opting instead to bring the 9-cubic-foot one we’d kept in the basement. (My dad had been convinced we’d needed a beverage refrigerator and so bought us one several years ago.) Such a small fridge necessitated frequent trips to the grocery store, which were burdensome because the small grocer in our tiny town doesn’t carry much of what we like to buy. It’s a convenience store, really—or a carry out, as they call them here in Ohio.

Because of the fridge, we also had to reconsider food purchases. No, we couldn’t have six different bottles of salad dressing or mustard or pickles. We could only keep a few half-gallons of milk at a time. Anything we could leave in the pantry we would. The miniscule freezer allowed us to store but a week’s worth of meat. Ice cubes were pretty much out of the question. Ice cream had to be purchased at Dairy Queen on an as-needed basis.

Eventually, we bought a used one on Craig’s List, a huge 20-something-cubic-feet. But we went almost nine months with that small refrigerator.

Dads as Providers

I love that I’m able to fill our big refrigerator from the land of milk and honey—a Kroger somewhat nearby that even carries furniture, in case I want to pick up an end table with our groceries. I also love that I can watch my kids eat, that unlike millions of fathers across the world, I can put food on the table. (And I pray and ask God how I can help. More on that in a post coming up.)

It’s an inborn desire, I think, this need we fathers have to provide for our kids. It might be something that echoes of Eden, when God told Adam to take care of the world and have babies. Cultivate the ground and put food in their little bellies.

I know little about seeds and may not be able to work a hoe, but I can play music. For a song, I’ve been able to buy our food. (I realize I completely misused that idiom.) In the twelve years since our family began, I’ve been able to do what God has given me the gifts to do. I bear my Father’s resemblance when I provide for my babies, because he, the perfect Father, has always provided for me.

9 “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.” —Matthew 7:9-11 NLT

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. All praise and gratitude to our Father who provides.

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