Sunday, June 20, 2010

52 Blessings—Having Calvin as a co-parent

Once you’re married you find there are lots of ways to do things and think about things when you were certain there was only one correct way before. It makes for lots of learning . . . and discovery . . . and crying.

But, one thing I’m grateful for is that Calvin and I think and feel the same way about parenting. It’s been wonderful being a parent with him—truly a blessing.

Calvin is a great co-parent because the kids like him and want to be with him.

Trevor and Calvin at Grandpa Payne’s burial.  The family buries their loved ones themselves
at this cemetery, hence the casual dress and shovel in Trevor’s hand.

Trevor wanted to live with his dad in the worst way when he was a little boy so when he came to stay with us in the summers he was Calvin’s shadow. Every morning Calvin fed the steers and heifers in the feedlot about a mile from our home. He’d fill the feed truck with chopped hay and silage from the stack-yards, and then drive back by the house on the way up to the feedlot. One morning, Calvin tried to quietly sneak out of the house while the kids were still sleeping, but when the loaded truck rumbled back by the house Trevor heard it and jumped out of bed. He knew he’d been left.

I was taking care of the baby and didn’t even hear the screen door slam shut, but when Calvin turned the truck around to come get another load of feed he saw a little boy in over-sized irrigating boots about a half mile up the road running after him and the feed truck. Calvin never tried to sneak out of the house without Trevor again.

Calvin is a great co-parent because he knows the right thing to do at the right time.

Ty wanted to succeed in wrestling more than anything when he was in high school. He worked hard. He worked steady. He worked tirelessly. It was no secret he wanted to be a state contender.

His last high school match was disappointing. It could have turned out different, but it didn’t. It was sad and many felt the loss. Ty quietly went off the mat and walked towards the locker room after he’d congratulated the other wrestler. After several minutes, Calvin got up and followed him. He found Ty off in a corner of an unused room sitting against the wall with his head in his hands. Big tears ran down Ty’s face. Calvin sat down next to him, talked him through his wrestling experience, and then said a prayer with him. By the time Ty joined the crowd, he was subdued, but at peace.

Calvin is a great co-parent because he’s a great teacher.

One day when we were out working in the yard,
 Calvin found a couple of snakes over by the chicken coop.
He was excited to have one for him and Cali. No sharing.
(I was happy as could be there wasn’t three.)

When we lived on the ranch in Idaho, Calvin used to trap beavers, muskrats, and coyotes. Cali loved to go out to the barn when he skinned the animals and watch. She sat on a stool next to Calvin and he taught her all about the muscles and organs. Once, when it was too cold to work in the barn, he brought a big piece of plywood in and set it on the kitchen table and skinned a beaver right there in the dining room. Again, Cali sat next to him on a stool while he taught her about beaver habits. (This just reminded me of something else. Last year Cali, Ray, Calvin, and I went to see an IMAX movie on beavers. Calvin and Cali came out mocking it. They said it was green propaganda and they used beaver falsehoods to promote it. It was clear that beavers are Cali and Calvin’s friends and you don’t mess with them.)

Calvin is a great co-parent because he helps the kids see a bigger picture.

When Abe was little he couldn’t decide what he wanted to be when he grew up—Michael Jordan, a policeman, or a prophet. After a few years Calvin helped Abe to see he probably ought to plan on using his brain rather than his basketball skills for a career.

One Sunday morning when Abe was a sophomore in high school, Calvin sat down at the computer with him and started researching colleges on the internet. They looked at everything—MIT, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, BYU, UW, Yale. Calvin suggested they take a look at the military academies also, so they looked at the Naval Academy, West Point, and the Air Force Academy. Abe showed honest interest, so Calvin took the boys to Colorado Springs a few weeks later to tour the Air Force Academy.

Calvin is a great co-parent because he expects a lot from the kids.

Ande had a huge toe. Abe had run over it in the pickup and then a boy jumped on it while they were dancing. It was very sore and infected, so Calvin operated on it. He told her to quit whimpering, toughen up, and bite on an arrow like the mountain men while he lanced it.

Calvin is a great co-parent because he is dependable.

Calvin’s dad was a good postman. After he retired from the post office, he delivered flowers for a part-time job. He knew all the streets.

Calvin is like his dad. When something needs to be delivered, you ask him. Like Grace. She needed to go to Georgia, so Calvin drove her. Before they left Grace asked if she could borrow my earphones. She whispered, “I might need them sometimes if he wants to listen to talk radio too much.” Later she said, “I didn’t need the earphones once. We just visited and looked at the country and listened to music. We had a really good time.”

Calvin is a great co-parent because he believes in the kids.

The other day Abe told Grace to ask his dad's advice on a matter. Calvin listened and then said, “I don’t know. Abe needs to talk to Ray. Ray would have a better answer and advice on that.”

Calvin is a great co-parent because he’s a lot like his dad.

Calvin's dad was a very good man.  I don't know of anyone thought more highly of than his dad.  Calvin's dad also teased a lot.  Posing as an insurance salesman, he sold me a bogus policy on our first telephone conversation.  Calvin has done likewise; Ande was three before she realized she wasn't hatched under the house with the dinosaurs.

Calvin is a great co-parent because he helps the kids be brave.

When the kids need someone to help them be brave they call their dad.  Once (not that many years ago) when Trent was having terrible dreams he called his dad and told him about them.  Calvin listened for a long time then talked to Trent and told him what he needed to do. 

Cali used to ride her bike to her job at the college bakery early in the morning while it was still dark.  She'd call and ask her dad to talk to her while she rode her bike through the scary parts, then she'd suddenly say, "Okay!  I'm here.  Thanks Dad!"

Calvin is a great co-parent because he lets the kids know he's proud of them. 

Calvin and Michelle (Trevor's wife)

Calvin doesn't hesitate to tell the kids that they're doing a good job—in their lives, with their families, in their schooling or careers, activities . . . even in their crafts. No one has to beg for their dad's approval of good things.  Stupendous is the word he most frequently uses in such cases.

Most definitely, having Calvin as a co-parent is a huge blessing.


hennchix said...

What a great post Jane! Calvin definitely is a great dad, and he is also very blessed to have YOU!!

Heather @ Multiple Hats said...

A fantastic post about a fantastic guy - great job, Jane!

Barb said...

I really loved all the candids and photos that wouldn't normally make a blog. It was a photo essay of a happy loving family.

Jill said...

Oh my gosh, what a wonderful post! Please tell me Calvin will see this?!

Everyone should have a dad like Calvin!

deidra said...


(Ande should read the children's book "Chicken of the Family." I got it from my sister for my birthday because they had me convinced I was adopted when I was younger.)

michelle said...

This is a most wonderful post! So many blessings here. Do not ever take for granted the fact that you feel and think the same way about parenting. That is not always the case, and it can really cause strife, let me tell you. Not to mention problems for the kids.

I love all of the things you highlighted about Calvin. Your kids are just so blessed to have you two as parents!

And that arm-wrestling photo is stupendous!

Ande Payne said...

By far this was the best tribute post for the best dad. You captured Dad so clearly, thanks for pointing out a few of his great attributes and qualities and a memory for each. Dad is the greatest. Truly. The Greatest. I wish everyone got Dad as their dad, I feel so lucky and blessed that I do.

Kathy said...

Thanks for the deep insight into your co-parent's life.

melanie said...

I love this post Jane. You and Calvin make a great team, what a blessing you are to each other and your blessed kids. More than anything I love that he lets them know he's proud of them. Stupendous is a great word!

If he ever decides on wanting more than 6 kids, I'll adopt him as my dad, ha!

Anonymous said...

Biting the arrow was the best! What a nice tribute to your man.


Mindy said...

You are always so complimentary of Calvin. What a great relationship you must have with him.

Deanna/Mimi said...

Calvin is the king among princes! Wow...I am impressed with him. I have also heard that behind every successful and great man is a great woman! You both are blessed to have one another and your children are reaping the benefits of having such outstanding parents.

Becky said...

I love all the pictures! What a great post. :)

Tell Calvin I mourned for him when ASU lost a couple nights ago...

everything pink! said...

michelle was right. this is the best post ever.
i had jeff read this.