So as of early Saturday morning I am the father of four. Three girls and a boy.
All in. Zone defense. A bifocal Dad.
They say we never know the plan (or who makes the plan) but mine is workin' out alright. I remember at age 10 wanting to be either a cowboy or a linebacker for the Bears. Door number 3? Yes.
While my wife was pregnant the news brought a full range of reactions ranging from "Wow, what a blessing" to a look of "You must be nuts."
Some would say "Oh, so this is old hat for you." It's not of course.
Nothing I have done, nothing I will do, compares to the thrill of raising my children. And witnessing the birth is simply perfection.
Some reality has set in the past few days.
Tired? I am riding fumes.
The house? I am waiting for news cameras to show up and film the crime scene - dolls and stuffed animals sprawled like dead bodies across our floors.
And I have this recurring thought that there is not enough oxygen for all of us. Of course I might be hyperventilating at the thought of feeding six people and a sheepdog.
And I wouldn't bargain away any of it.
Raising kids is hard work, if that's your choice. I know men who don't, like the ones who enable their kids with this silly notion of being their "friend" instead of their Dad, or who put their kids in youth sports solely to fulfill their pipe dream.
As I have told my kids many times, anyone can be a father, but it's takes true commitment to be a Dad. If the essence of love is sacrifice, ours is often silent. Fathers get a card, Dad's get rewards.
Along the way I have mastered a few skills, like the ability to fall asleep in a room full of kids, or listening to a kid tell a long...long story fully enraprtured. Can anything beat the excitement on their face as they tell the story?
A few weeks ago we went to the mall and my (then)youngest daughter, age 2, insisted on wearing her "two-two," high heels, shades and a tiara. She walked slightly ahead of my wife and I, my daughter and son with runway swagger. We were her entourage. She drew stares and laughter from all as we made our way to the escalator up to the food court.
And now she has a sister.
Drive home from the hospital? No thanks, I'll fly.