There’s almost nothing that concerns me more in this life than thinking about my son experiencing pain and heartache. I cringe at the thought of him encountering the brokenness of this world. His energy and enthusiasm are incredible to watch and capture my heart and attention every day. It literally pains me to think about him having his heart broken, or being deceived, or the moment when he comprehends that there is a lot of bad stuff going on in the world every day.

I know that it will happen. I know he must grow up and experience these things. I know that pain, failure and heartache all build and shape character. I know that as his father it’s my job to prepare him for this and to not shelter him as he’s ready to understand and comprehend.

Yet, I know it’s going to hurt. That kid’s smile is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. His laugh is one of the most beautiful and heartwarming sounds I’ve ever heard. His energy and his compassion are so encouraging and uplifting to me no matter what has happened during my day. And so it’s hard for me to think about him not being happy, or being moved to tears because of something more than having to go to bed or having a toy taken away. It’s hard to imagine that moment when he truly realizes life isn’t fair and that there’s a lot of sadness and darkness in the world.

This has been on my mind lately…with what’s been going on around the country and the world…with what’s been going on with our family. This month has been extremely rough. We lost two amazing family members within 11 days of each other. The sadness and stress have made a difficult pregnancy harder for my wife. Our family has been grieving and stretched thin by life moving on while still trying to process the thought of not having these people around.

And through it all there is my boy…asking to play dinosaurs…running and laughing and trying to have as much fun as possible in each moment; his joy giving us something to smile about and be thankful for. He has been amazing through this entire trial.

Yet, we know he comprehends more than we give him credit for. He’s seen my wife cry, he has seen us all sad and stressed and tired. Yet, so far he hasn’t asked many questions and we haven’t been completely sure what to say. What we’ve told him so far is that sometimes people get very sick and it makes us really sad (which led to a beautiful response from him I talked about in my last post).
How do you tell a two year old this stuff? How do you know how much he understands and when he’s old enough to understand? Is anyone ever really ready for that moment when it happens?

I don’t really know how to answer these questions right now, but I know that I’ll need to be ready soon and that I can’t shelter and protect him forever.

I can’t keep my son from feeling pain and sadness in this life…and while that actually is a good thing for him…it makes me hurt…

This is fatherhood…