Mar 9, 2009

Garry Bartle, Super Dad

Before climbing in the van to come home from the airport last night, I greeted each of my boys with a hug and a kiss. We had a nice reunion. I was glad to be with my family again.

Once I was settled in my own seat, Tyler asked, "Did you miss us?"

"Of course!" I replied. And then back to Ty: "Did you miss me?"

Tyler didn't miss a beat. "No."

I laughed. A lot.

Eventually Tyler added, "Well, maybe a little bit, but mostly no."

At least he's honest.

And I'm not surprised. The boys spent the weekend with Super Dad. How could they go wrong?

On Friday night they watched movies, and what they didn't finish they enjoyed on Saturday morning. A long grocery run was interspersed with a delightful St. Patrick's Day fashion show, a brownie mix purchase, and lunch at McDonald's.

The boys helped Dad stain and varnish the wood cabinet he built. Garry gave them haircuts that allow them to spike up their hair (a long-requested transformation I have not had the energy to indulge). They played games and relaxed and generally had a great time.

When I got home from church in Beaverton yesterday morning, I checked my cell phone for messages. There was a text from Garry that read: "Adventures in fatherhood!" I called him for details and he related the following story.

Because of the time change, the morning schedule was thrown off a bit and Gavin had a later-than-usual nap. Getting ready for church was a little frenetic, so Garry and the boys arrived a few minutes late (during the sacrament hymn). Moments later, Garry noticed an unpleasant smell emanating from Gavin. He decided to wait until the sacrament had been passed to take care of the diaper problem. Once he arrived in the bathroom, however, he was dismayed to discover that Gavin had had a major blowout. We stopped packing around extra clothes for Gavin ages ago, so Garry had no choice but to go home and change him. So he loaded up all three boys and carted them home.

Once Garry changed Gavin from head to toe and replaced his own clothing, which was also smeared with diaper overflow, Garry prepared everyone for a quick return to church. Suddenly, without warning, Gavin threw up everywhere. The Bartle family church experience was abruptly canceled. Everyone trooped back inside and Garry cleaned up another mess.

The big boys were downstairs changing out of their freshly-adorned church clothes when Gavin puked again, this time all over the carpet in the boys' room. Garry whisked him off to the bathroom to clean him up and Gavin hurled again there. Garry said the volume was astonishing for such a small person! At least this mess splashed on solid surfaces. Poor Gavin was pretty miserable for a while, as was his father, I imagine.

By the time I returned home, all remnants of puke and stained clothing and carpet were cleaned up. Gavin was in better spirits.

I also found a full refrigerator and boys with neatly trimmed hair.

As Garry was changing for bed tonight, he sighed a big sigh. I asked if he was tired. He said, "Not particularly. Just ready for a break." He's not used to being on duty 24/7.

That's probably why, when Tyler announced he didn't miss me at all, Garry piped up. He definitely missed Mom.

It's good to be missed. And it's great to come back.
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