This was about seven years ago. We were at the family camp in the mountains of Julian, near San Diego. Mikey, Noah, Diego (with the curls) and the littlest one is Sol. My, my, my, doesn't my husband look tired? Little did he know he would add three more to his brood over the next four years. And those four little boys would be like a vacation.
See that backpack? That was Daddy's backpack. One of Michael's favorite things was to put the kids on his back while he was working around the house. He would mow the lawn with the kids on his back. He would bbq. He would go shopping at Home Depot. Go to church. Go on walks. Family events. All with that backpack. If the baby was fussy and screaming their head off, in the backpack they would go. And they all loved it.
Someone had given us a new one, some fancy Kelty hiking backpack. But it was just too big and bulky, with too many pockets and bells and whistles. The chil'rens didn't take to it like that old blue faithful one. Personally, I could never use the backpack--any of them. My ass was (is!) too fat. The chil'rens would hang down from the backpack and they would literally be sitting on my butt. Kinda like a shelf. When I walked, they would puff up and down.
It was kinda ridiculous.
So I stuck with my various slings, the NoJo and the Maya wrap. It was all very crunchy granola. But after a while they would kill my back and I would think, isn't this is why I gave birth to you...so I wouldn't have to carry you anymore?
At the time the photo was taken, I thought we were destined to have all boys. They were a handful...always dirty, always loud, always hungry...always lovable. Michael was having a blast being an all-boys daddy. And I liked being the reigning queen, with all my handsome little subjects.
After Xixi outgrew the backpack--which was early because of her thickness--it just sat crumpled and unassuming in the hall closet. It was a faded blue with a few stains on the edge and it didn't give you a clue as to what it meant to our family...how many babies it lovingly held...how it enabled daddy to bond with his seeds...and the many adventures it went on.
Eventually, it was sold in a yard sale, very unceremoniously. But all the chil'rens remember it fondly. Not being in it...but seeing their younger siblings in it and all the good times associated with it. I also remember it fondly, but in a different way. As a young mother, it offered me respite from a fussy baby who wanted 100% of my time and attention. As a young wife, it showed me that a true man wanted to be with his children, and to hold them close. It also showed me I had made a good choice in marrying this man.
Happy Father's day to you, my dear.