yesterday we were eating supper with the kids and sheldon, and one of his friends came to the door. we invited him in to join us, and he looked a little hesitant before he said "our friend's outside." we invited him in too, and they both sat down to supper.
they were really nice - both of them chattier than sheldon, not that that's saying much - and we had fun getting to know them. one of them had stayed for supper before, but the other we hadn't met.
later, we were getting an impromptu dessert from the kitchen when i overheard the low conversation in the dining room.
"you're lucky, man," one friend said, "this is a really open home."
"yeah, it was so nice of them to invite us for supper. it's not like that where i stay."
"yeah, i guess so." (coming from our close-lipped sheldon, high praise indeed! we keep looking for ways to show him we love him but his responses are few ... so this was pretty special.)
and a few minutes later the conversation switched to a topic that made me so grateful that God placed sheldon in our home.
'i heard your dad was in town and didn't even tell you, shelly,' his friend said.
'yeah. my cousin told me.'
'you're the only one who calls him dad now, eh?'
'me and my sister. 'cause we weren't there when he walked out.'
beyond the fact that i was thrilled over his opening up - this was the first personal stuff he'd shared with us - my heart hurt so much at the thought of sheldon growing up with (out) a dad who would walk out on his wife 6 kids.
there is no better dad in the world than patrick. he adores sam and vava with his whole heart, and serves and loves them joyfully and sacrificially. every night, he comes home and spends every moment playing with and caring for them until bedtime. he crashes cars with sam and snuggles vava. he prompts sam to remember his manners and gives him a bath. he reads them bible stories and sings and prays for them before tucking them in. and then together we put the shambled house back in order :).
so maybe, in a little way, sheldon is getting familiar with the rhythm of a family that beats with a strong father-heart, and his own fathering someday might reflect that.
he couldn't have been placed with a better example.