"I asked for a car; I got a computer."

Looking for a commentary that uses big words and ponders the deeper meanings of various topics? Well...you've come to the wrong place. This blog is all about extolling the greatness of Christ, the joy of marriage, the rollercoaster ride called parenthood, the supremacy of the 1980's...and doing all of it at a fifth grade reading level!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Guaranteed To Make You Wince

Note: The following entry is rated PG-13 due to violence and adult themes. Readers discretion is advised.

I might lose my blogging priviliges as a result of this post...but Elijah mentioned this today, and Robin suggested it might make a good blog entry. And since she NEVER reads my blog, the fact that she actually mentioned my blog thrilled me. So hear it goes!

When I took this job at ACU, Robin, Elijah and Noah stayed behind in Howe to sell our house. Well...we sold our house quicker than we thought we would...and we hadn't yet found a house in Abilene. So we were forced to take drastic measures...and we moved into the University Park Apartments (a.k.a. "UP") on the ACU campus.

For those of you not familiar with these apartments they are TINY!!! There's barely enough room for a single person to maneuver around in them...much less a Mommy, a Daddy, a soon-to-be-three year old, and a curious 8-month old.

But we managed. And Elijah still fondly remembers the three months we spent living there. Mostly because it was a great place to trick-or-treat during Halloween...AND there was always a college student or two that would kick the soccer ball back and forth to him.

However, it was also the scene of his most traumatic experience in the 5-1/2 years that he has walked upon this earth.

At the time we moved to Abilene Elijah was finishing the potty-training experience. Truth be told, he was an absolute breeze to potty-train...and to this date has still not had one single accident (I attribute that to my being married to one of the best mothers in history!). And early on he insisted on doing everything by himself...to which his mother and I HAPPILY agreed.

One nice thing about living in UP was that I could walk to work. So I woke up one morning, spent some time in our cramped quarters with my family, then began my journey across campus to my office. About the time I reached the door to my office my cell phone rang. Before I could say "hello" I heard a cry like I had never heard before on the other end of the phone.

"Oh Daddy," came Robin's pitiful voice, "we've had a terrible accident. Elijah needs to talk to you."

I wasn't too concerned...as the tone in Robin's voice caused me to think that Elijah had lost a toy or had his first potty-training accident. But NOTHING could prepare me for the story I was about to hear.

"DADDY!!!!" came the voice of my screaming child on the other end of the phone. "I go potty and.....WHAAAAAA!!!!!!" Elijah dropped the phone, and I waited patiently for either he or his mother to pick up the phone to tell me what was going on.

After a few seconds Robin retrieved the phone with Elijah still wailing in the background.

"What is that all about," I asked?

Robin, starting to giggle slightly, began to explain. "Elijah wanted to tee-tee by himself this morning. So I let him."

Her giggle has now turned into a laugh.

"Okay," I said. "So why is he crying while you're laughing?"

"Well," she continued, "he was in there by himself using the potty. Then I heard the lid close...and that's when he started crying." She was still trying to hold in her laughter as I came to the horrific realization of what had happened.

Yes...the toilet had attacked my son.

While Robin is giggling uncontrollably, I, on the other hand, found this to be no laughing matter. Instead, I had turned loose of the phone and, empathizing with my first-born, was protecting myself from suffering the fate that had befallen him. My face began to contort and grimace as I pictured, in slow motion (and in technicolor!) what had transpired. I began to envision years of surgery, therapy and other procedures necessary to help a young man through a harrowing, traumatizing experience.

I then thought of what neighbors, friends, and family would say. I thought of myself walking across campus amidst the stares of students, faculty and staff. Oh, how they would shake their heads, point their condemning fingers, and say, "There he goes. He's the man that was so insensitive as to allow his son to be attacked my a toilet. And his poor son - he'll never be the same."

Oh...the shame and scorn I had brought upon the family.

I was jolted back to reality by my wife's resumed giggling.

"How can you laugh about this," I screamed into the phone! "You are heartless!" I then went into a diatribe attempting to rival this pain with that of childbirth...but I don't think I made a very convincing argument.

I quickly ran home to console my son seeing that his mother's rabid insensitivity was making things worse. I hit the door and Elijah was still crying. He was naked and curled up on the floor...with a bag of ice resting on his "area."

"Let Daddy see," I said calmly. But in reality I didn't WANT to see. I would compare it to watching a Friday the 13th movie when you know that someone is about to catch an axe in the forehead...and you cover your eyes with your hands, yet you spread the ring finger and pinkie apart far enough to see...because you rationalize that if you look at it in this fashion it won't be near as gross.

Well...I'll spare both of you the details...but it was obvious that Elijah's manhood (or boyhood as the case may be) had suffered severe blunt force trauma. He managed to waddle to the couch like a Cowboy who had ridden the Log Ride at Six Flags one too many times and continued to apply his ice treatment. His mother, finally penitent of her insensitivity, brought him a popsicle and turned on Bear In The Big Blue House. So things in the house began to return to normal.

Although...I must admit that I walked to work a little slower and awkwardly that day. And Elijah still stands a little farther away from the toilet than we'd like.

But wouldn't you???

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Evolution of Teeth

Well...it's finally happened. Young Jacob Martin Campbell has successfully cut his first tooth. I wish I had a picture of the tooth to show you...but the kid won't let me pry his mouth open to take a picture of it (so I found the next best picture). But trust me -- the tooth is there. Just ask his mother!

While seeing baby's first tooth is a monumental occasion that folks love to talk about, people often forget the misery associated with it. Now I'm no doctor...but it just doesn't make a lick of sense to me as to why a kid would run a fever, get a snotty nose, create miraculous bowel artistry, and become downright unpleasant during this process. (If either of you can help explain this I'd love to hear it!)

Anyhow, Robin and I have been attempting to split night time duty caring for this uncomfortable little character during his time of need. However it always seems that he's WIDE awake during my watch. Take, for example, last night's extravaganza (actually, it would be more accurate to say "this morning's extravaganza").

I hear the dulcet tones of daddy's little boy emitting from his bed at 3:30 this morning. I picked him up and could instantly tell this would be a long process. He was burning up and couldn't breathe at all. So I administered some of Wal-Mart's finest fever reducer, attacked him with that nose syringe thing (sorry - don't know the technical term for it), plopped down with him on the couch, and searched the channels for our favorite early morning infomercial.

One hour later I'm still watching speed boat racing on ESPN2...and Jacob is wiggly, fussy, and loud. So I grabbed a hat, put on a t-shirt and my shoes (already had on shorts), grabbed the handy-dandy umbrella stroller, and set out on a neighborhood stroll feeling confident that Jacob would be asleep shortly.


Off we went. Strangely enough, there are a few people out at 4:30 in the morning. Donut shop owners, newspaper delivery guys (the dude almost hit me!), convenience store workers, and old folks walking their dogs. Well, I saw 'em all this morning. And I'm sure they were all thinking the same thing: "Why's that dude walking his child so early in the morning?" I wish they would stop and ask me that question personally...at which point I would have made an appointment with them to drop the Teething Wonder off at their house the following evening so they can witness, firsthand, the oft-discussed joys of parenting.

So we trudged on...and on...and on. On the first couple of days of Jacob's life, while his mother was enjoying her Morphine Cocktail, I would sing him to sleep by singing "Bad" from U2's "The Unforgettable Fire" album. About 15 minutes into our walk I burst into song, praying that the combination of vibrating asphalt and Bono would send my son off to visit the sandman.


Instead, he turned his head around and stared at me the whole time. For a brief moment I thought I was Bono himself...even stopping under a streetlight to serenade my youngest son while "on stage." Since that song didn't work I began a tribute of every somewhat-calm U2 song I knew...and none of them did the trick. So I gave up and continued my stroll through the neighborhood.

At the time, I wasn't sure exactly how far I had walked. There's a great website out there where you can map a route that you run or walk (www.mapmyrun.com). So at exactly the 2.21 mile mark into our walk young Jacob's head finally rested against the stroller...and he began to snore. I instantly sprang into an acapella rendition of "The Hallelujah Chorus" and turned my sights toward home. We made the remaining .42 mile journey (I LOVE that website!) back to the house, and I hit the door right at 5:30. I removed my slumbering bundle of misery (uh, I mean joy) from his stroller, and placed him back in his bed. I literally sprinted to my own bed anxious to grab an hour of shut-eye before my alarm went off...only to find that my other two sons were occupying my spot.

So I went to the couch.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Back From A Long Hiatus

It's been awhile since I've written anything...and there's a couple of reasons for that. First, I haven't had a lot to write that I thought would interest either of y'all. Secondly, I haven't really been in the mood. I guess they call that "Writer's Block"...but since I've never really thought of myself as a "writer," I don't know if that term is applicable.

This past Friday was a sad day for us on the ACU campus. Wayne Miller, who worked over in the First Year program, died after a short battle with Pancreatitis (sp?). (On a side note, as a freshman in college I remember my biology professor saying there was fewer things the human body could encounter that would be more painful than a bout of Pancreatitis...because it literally eats away at the other organs with its digestive enzymes -- YUCK!).

I met Wayne while we were students at ACU. I didn't know him well...though I do remember an evening when he, I, and three other random folks who were void of dates on a Friday night played a rigorous foosball tournament in the basement of the Campus Center. I don't remember much else about the evening...only that we all had a good time being together.

Wayne and I got reacquainted this last Fall as our sons played soccer together. Together he and I would endure one-hour increments of watching a herd of 10 kids follow a ball around the field. Wayne's son, Alex, didn't want to play at first. In fact he hated even coming to practice. I know how agitated and even embarrassed Wayne was at the predicament...to the point that he announced to me they were quitting.

So it was a real joy a couple of weeks later to see Wayne and Alex show up for our Saturday game...and even more of a joy to see the smile on Wayne's face when he saw Alex actually score a goal!

I guess now Wayne will have a "sky box" seat to watch Alex and his other three sons grow up. I don't know why God allows bad things to happen to good people -- as Wayne really was the epitome of "good people." I don't know why four boys and a wife are left to fend for themselves. I can't look at the picture of my three boys on my desk without tearing up at the thought of missing out on their lives. I guess the entire book of "Job" seeks the answer to the question "WHY?"...and in the end we're left with a God that reminds us that He was here in the beginning, He is still here today, and He will be here when the end comes. And that's a pretty reassuring thought.

But maybe it calls us into service as God's people. Today at 6:30PM there will be a memorial service at the University Church of Christ as folks remember Wayne and say their final good-byes. Then 99% of that crowd will go back to their homes and resume their lives. But one family will go home husbandless and fatherless...and one mother will try to pull the weight of two.

So maybe God allows this to happen so that we can put our faith into practice. Maybe a community has the opportunity to help raise four young men and rally behind a mother who is struggling with the same questions that Job had? Maybe...no, DEFINITELY God has a plan, and I need to be open to being apart of it.

Whatever the case, if you're reading this PLEASE lift this family up to the Father in prayer.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Happy Half-Birthday

For weeks, Elijah has been monitoring the calendar waiting for May 9th to get here so that he could turn 5-1/2. Well, yesterday was the big day (or, should I say, the "half-big" day). So after Robin picked him up from school, I dashed home real quick for a half birthday party. You could tell it was a half-birthday party...as there were no streamers, noise makers or even candles.

But there were the essential ingredients for an effective party: Hats (the same dunce-cap looking things we've been wearing for every birthday the boys have ever had); Presents (Elijah got a Star Wars watch); Cake (some brownie-looking thing with decorative icing. It was a yellowish-orange...and Noah wouldn't eat it because he thought it was cheese!); and Ice Cream.

But not just ANY ice cream...rather, ice cream that took me back in time thirty years! Think back to the day when there was no Marble Slab Creamery. A time when there was no Cold Stone Creamery. And a time when Austin folks hadn't discovered Amy's Ice Cream. Heck, Cookies'n'Cream wasn't even a flavor yet! The fanciest thing you could get was.....NEOPALITAN!!!

I remember LOVING that as a kid. After all, you had chocolate AND vanilla connected together!!! Of course, I also remember having to scrape away the strawberry part...as I would only eat the chocolate and vanilla. And Elijah, laying claim to the fact that he is MY son, did the exact same thing!

So everyone had a good time.

That night, as Elijah was getting ready for bed, he became very quiet -- almost depressed. I asked him what was wrong, and he started crying. After he composed himself, he told me that he was only going to get to see Teacher Michelle (his teacher at Rainbow Bible School) for five more days...and then he wasn't ever going to get to see her again (she lives around the corner from us, but I don't think Elijah knows that).

And more tears started flowing.

Robin and I both had to turn our heads so he wouldn't see us laughing. Granted, we weren't laughing at his crying; rather, we were both laughing because, again, he is MY son...and it sounded like something I would do when I was a little boy.

I sat Elijah down and told him that when I was little, I would do the same thing at the end of the school year. I remember crying and holding on with all my might to Ms LaGrone on the last day of Kindergarten because I didn't think I'd ever get to see her again. It was an embarassing time for my mother, but we still laugh about it today.

"You're ultra-sensitive, just like your daddy," I told him. And, for some reason, that made him feel better.