Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I feel like we may be stuck in the middle of the most disgusting sandwich ever created. Beyond any liverwurst and swiss cheese your grandma tried to shove down your throat, more filthy than your dad's sandwich creations, our life has become a poop sandwich.

Our first born child, Harper, was born December 17th, 2010. For more information see my wife's facebook note: http://www.facebook.com/notes/cassandra-clarke-black/the-birth-and-life-of-harper-kendall-blackso-far-this-is-very-detailed-so-there-/10150105065405860. Here's a sample to suck you in:

 "Without any doubt in my being that was the hardest thing I had ever done, but by trusting my God, my body that he created, and my amazing midwife my beautiful son was born and I was able to experience the curse that God gave women because of the fall of man. So humbled and empowered at the same time, I wanted to weep and praise God for everything I had but didn't deserve."

Harper was born with Imperforate Anus, a fancy medical term meaning his poop had no way out. Our doctor's prepared us and Harper and took him into surgery to install a colostomy bag. For those of you who may not know what a colostomy bag is, let me explain. The surgeon went in to Harper's lower bowels and cut them in half, bringing both halves through the skin on his side. He will continue to eat normally and digest food and the food will be pooped out through his side (colostomy) and into his bag. You've probably learned more than you ever desired to know.

As if it wasn't difficult enough to change my first diaper ever or be a father for the first time, now I have a medical condition to deal with. But we've never backed down from a challenge and this wouldn't be the first time.

When we got home, Cassie was looking up websites about colostomy bags on infants so we could learn as much as we could. I glanced over at one point and read a line that made me laugh and roll my eyes: "For parents who's lives are dictated by bowels".

Dictated by bowels? HA! I was not about to allow a child to run my house, and especially not his poo!
Little did I know...

Before Harper's birth, my day was planned around my mornings. Religiously I would go by the same schedule every day.

6:00 Wake Up
6:05 Take the dog out
6:10 Make coffee and start bacon
6:20 Read Bible while bacon cooks
6:45 Drain bacon and start eggs
7:00 Finish reading and eat breakfast
7:30 Shower and get ready for work

Now, it seems like everything revolves around his nose-hair burning stool. For example, Sunday morning looked more like:

7:00 Wake up and Change poop bag
7:25 Take the dog out
7:35 Make coffee and start breakfast
7:40 Read Bible
7:55 Drain poop from bag
8:15 Eat breakfast
8:45 Get ready for Church
9:30 Drain bag again
10:00 Arrive at church

Now, most babies don't fill their bags as often as that and I will admit, Sunday was not the norm. He seemed to have eaten extra well Saturday night/Sunday morning. But that kid does poop. A lot. And when he does it smells infinitely worse than any dirty diaper you've been exposed to. If you don't believe me, I insist you come and change the next one. It would be my pleasure.

And thanks to my unbelievably adorable son, I now am wedged into a poop sandwich. My life is effectively "poop-God-poop". And I think that's exactly where God wants me to be, wedged right between my son's crap.

The best part of it all? Through the pregnancy, the delivery, the surgery, and the frequent bag changing, God has been there. And He'll be there for the next surgery and everything in between. Which is just what we need.

God is with us, sandwiched between our baby poop, smiling, crying, and gagging along with us.
And its the best sandwich ever.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Papa Bear

Thanks to Christmas season, its been much longer than I had planned between posts. I'm intending to blog more frequently. Feel free to FB or Tweet me to keep me going!

I do not have a perfect dad.

This was a tough realization to come to. As you probably know, Cassie and I are expecting a baby soon, little Harper Kendall. I, of course, want him to grow up to love God, his mom, and sports, and to be a strong man who stands up for what he believes in.
With those goals in mind, I need to start my journey of fatherhood now with intentions to arrive at that point: a boy becomes a man who loves God, his mom (and future spouse), and stands up for his beliefs.
So I'm thinking, "How do I start being the perfect father now, so that HK will be what I want him to be in the end?"
It is best not to head into the unknown until you first investigate the known. So I started by reflecting on my dad and my relationship with him.

Growing up, Dad was always a hard worker. He was always a pretty large man, barrel chested, so I found it weird that he was on submarines when I was small. After he got out of the Navy, he worked night shift from my 2nd grade year into my high schooling. He would go off to work around 10 pm and return every day between 6 and 9 am, sleep for a few hours, and wake up around 2 to greet the three of us kids and start on dinner.

I can remember many times that Dad was, in our minds, harsh, short, and somewhat moody. He and I had numerous strains in our relationship, most (probably all) coming from me acting out, which I know can be a surprise. He was continuously sleep-deprived, something I was too self-centered to notice until I was older.

My dad is not a perfect dad.
The thought hit me like a gut shot from Mike Tyson (who still has it, by the way).

God has given me the chance now to look back and critically view my life, my relationship with my father, and how his job of raising three kids has panned out.

I believe my dad's goals were similar to mine: raise godly adults who love God, their mom (and future spouses), and who stand up for their beliefs.

I'm the middle child. I get to look up at Ben as he is grown and out on his own. I get to look down to Sara and see her at LSU pursuing her degree. I see two individuals who love God, their mom, and stand up for their beliefs. And when I look in the mirror I know a few things: I love God with all that I am, love my wife second, love my mother, and will forever stand up for my beliefs.

My dad is successful.

"Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

I'm going to be harsh with Harper. Many times I'm going to be short and I am often moody. And I will never be the perfect dad. I will never be the Father-of-the-Year. I will make mistakes, hurt his feelings, break his confidence, and shatter his trust in me. And by God's grace, I will reconcile myself to my family and love them like Christ loves the Church and like Benjamin Black loved each of us (see Ephesians 5). And I will do whatever it takes to make sure each of my children love God, their mom and spouse, and stand up for their beliefs.

I have seen parenting success. I am the evidence of it.

My dad is not perfect, but he is successful.

And I want to be just like him.

Let the conversation begin.