Getting all the way to the kids yesterday evening was starting to seem like an impossible undertaking. The drive is over an hour long, with plenty of opportunity for things to go wrong. And they did. After battling wicked traffic, a car accident blocked both lanes of our side of the road, and I could feel Gary’s tension and aggravation rolling off of him as we sat and sat and sat. I didn’t have to wonder when traffic started moving again, because Gary called out “Okay, GO” like a military commander, and we were on our way once again.
The kids ran to the car when we pulled up, and seeing their faces, how excited they were to see their dad, makes almost anything worth it. I felt like one of those circus acts with clowns tumbling in and out of a car, trying to get everyone seated and ready to go, since of course all four of them wanted to sit next to Gary. He hopped into the backseat, no easy feat for someone over 6’6″, and after diverting Bear from experimentally pressing all the buttons on the dash, we were ready to go.
Ever spend just over 2 hours with 4 kids and try to help each of them feel like they have your undivided attention? Eating dinner, running around on the playground, each of them just wanted to be with their dad. I paused at the playground to watch Gary with the kids at the swings, how he had all 4 of them engaged in play, all of them laughing, each one feeling special to him, and I admire his ability to do this, to make each one of them feel loved and treasured.
A few people have told Gary they were afraid of him when they first met him, because he is so tall. I was surprised when he told me that. Maybe it’s because I’ve watched a 2 year old (and a kitten) reduce him to baby talk, a 5 year old persuade him to let her put lipstick on him, a 7 year old snuggle with him like nobody’s business, and a 10 year old talk comic book characters like the world depended on it. It’s hard to be fearful of someone who routinely is covered head to toe with kids, laughing and just wanting to be with him.