Monthly Archives: June 2012

A Little Birdie Told Me It’s Father’s Day…..

ImageI guess I am a little weird in the fact that, although I love being appreciated, I almost feel selfish having a whole day dedicated to appreciating the fact that I have helped to create children at some point in my life.  By nature I like to be appreciated, but when people actually do (like my kids and wife on father’s day) I feel like I don’t deserve it.  Anyone feelin’ me on this or am I the only weird one?

I guess I look at fatherhood and the things I do as what is to be expected.  Lately I feel like I’ve neglected my kids because I have been busy with quite a bit of other things going on, but I know technically I haven’t. If you consider 5 hours at the pool, sunburn and all, neglect, then I guess I’m guilty. If I could get paid for being a dad, that would be my dream job! Go on vacations, take them on excursions, teaching life lessons and and stopping to enjoy life along the way. I guess you really couldn’t put a salary or go wrong with that kind of job right?


A shield I made Noah for his Captain America Costume!

My kids are to me, like pancakes are without syrup.  You can’t have one without the other. As a father we grow so attached and I am still amazed at how much they love me regardless of the mistakes I’ve made or things I have done intentionally or unintentionally to hurt them. I received a text from my Brother-in-law Jeremy Larracuente saying that in our kid’s eyes, dad is “…the biggest, strongest, most amazing superhero there is.”  That got me thinking about a dad’s “Super Hero Status.” I guess a dad could be a Super hero or a villain depending on how you look at it. Superheros are there to save the day and protect, where as villains are out to destroy and hurt.

In my kids’ eyes, I never want them to see me as a father by title only. Instead I want every hour of play, project completed, or tickle monster session fulfilled I would earn major Super Hero points. Those points will never win me an academy award, or earn me a million dollars, or the keys to the city, but being known as a dad that they can always count on is the best reward a guy could ever ask for. I guess I prefer to be a  Superhero because villains never win….right? 

The years are going to come and go, and before you know it, our kids are going to be out of the house, and we are going to look back on those years, and wish we could have them back. Things that we have said, things that we didn’t do, games we missed, time that we should have spent on important things. 

I know life is full of regrets, but I never want to look back at my kids and think, “What If”  What if I would have spent more time with them, what if I would have missed work to make it an award ceremony, what if I would have taken the time to explain something better, what if I would have intervened before that boy did, and hurt my daughter, what if I would have instilled the values I have or communicated them more effectively so they would also have the same values?

The possibilities are endless, but I hope that as a Father I have put the best foot forward.  As my other Brother-in-law Brandon Nelson said it, There’s “No handbook on how to be a perfect dad, but you take each moment as a lesson and learn from it.”  That is great advice from one of the best dad’s I know.  We may not be a perfect dad yet, but I know we have the perfect example of a father in Jesus.  My hope and prayer for all the dads out there is that we can rise above and be the Godly and best example we can to our kids. To those fathers that bear the Super Hero status, I commend you and challenge you and as the famous man of steel said himself.  “This looks like a job for…SUPERMAN!!”  Happy Father’s Day to all of you!!

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“No Lifeguard on Duty”

Before I even started my family journey I always knew I wanted my kids to be good swimmers.  Although I never had the courage or confidence to join the swim team, I secretly longed to join, and want my kids to explore it if they so choose.  Although I wont force my kids to do any activities they do not enjoy, I will support them in any endeavor they want to pursue,

Swimming for “Team Sanchez” as we call ourselves since it’s much quicker to round up the troops by saying, “Team Sanchez, LET’S GO” when leaving the store, rather than saying, “Elly, Ciara, Noah, Lukas, Ethan, LET’S GO!” is definitely a chore. Yesterday’s quick excursion involved  2 coolers, 12 water bottles, 8 sandwiches, Cheese puffs, goldfish, bananas, apples fruit, swim suits, sunscreen, 8 beach towels, little swimmers, a stroller, and….whew….(needed a breather there) and let’s not forget 5 kids and the wife. Nan and I make a great team though, I typically get the coolers, bag with goggles and, pool toys ready, and load the car. Nan packs all the other necessities like towels, sunscreen, changes of clothes etc. and gets the kids dressed while we tag team lunch and snacks.

When Team Sanchez goes swimming, it is definitely a challenge when we get in the

Elly, Lukas, Noah and Ciara enjoying a day at the pool.

water.  Nan is usually tending to Ethan out of the water while I am in the water with the rest.  Elly and Noah are now proficient swimmers, while Ciara and Lukas need some assistance. Elly and Noah usually like to play, dive, and do other stuff that better swimmers can do, and being the good little brothers and sisters that Ciara and Lukas are, they think they can swim like their older counter parts, and want to swim without the assistance of flotation devices, aka. “Floaties”  You know, the kind that turn your kid into instant hulk, and makes you dizzy just trying to blow them up.

Lukas enjoying the pool WITH his floaties of course.

After a few splashes and ventures into the deeper lurches of the pool, Lukas decides he wants to swim without help. After alot of affectionate arguing to put his floaties back on to no avail, I figured this was going to have to be one of those lessons that he is going to have to learn by experience.  As his dad, I vowed never to be one of those parents that didn’t let them be kids, or be so overprotective, that he wore pads and looked like the Michelin Man when going out to play.  After 10 successful minutes in the pool without his floaties, I was beginning to think he had this under control.  Even though I was never too far, I was always close enough to be at his side in a flash.  I was diving with Elly when Noah starts yelling “Daddy!  get him, get him get him!” I look over and can only see Lukas’ hair floating, arms flailing, and desperately trying to get up above water. He had only been under for a few seconds, but I’m sure felt like hours to him.  I swam over to him and pulled him out, while he is coughing, choking and burping out the water he had swallowed.  In a very loving and re-affirming voice, I asked him, “Now do you see why you have to wear your floaties?”  Let’s just say that I didn’t have to pursuade him to put his floaties back on.  He effortlessly allowed me to put them on his arms so he could continue to swim.

I realized yesterday, that sometimes as painful and difficult as it may be, our kids may only realize the seriousness of what we are talking about after they understand the consequences.  I’m glad that today, it was only the dangers of swimming without a little help and me being right there to help and comfort him that was the isse. When he is older I hope that our talks about texting and driving, sex before marriage, or the dangers of taking drugs will make a more significant impact on his choices and I hope and pray that he will not have to learn the consequences of those actions that are more serious the hard way.

What methods of learning and teaching have you used and why?

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A Father’s Perspective

Twelve years ago Nan and I began our family journey, and although we hadn’t talked about it in-depth, we knew we probably should start our “family planning” at some point in our lives. Preferably before I needed a hov-a-round and before she became a news sensation being the oldest mom alive.  Just as most newly married couples begin to feel the pressure to start the baby talk, we succumbed to the pressure, and, after all,  it’s the next logical step right?    Well, we had been engaged for a year, and married for close to a year, and figured we weren’t getting any younger so we should start trying. Little did we know what the next few years would bring.

For those couples that have endured the hardship of one or several miscarriages, you understand the pain and heartache that can be felt with each seemingly fleeting attempt.  The mountains and valleys of emotion living in hopes that this is the month, come and go, and a sense of hopelessness begins to take residence. As a husband, I would be strong for Nan when it became too difficult for her, and as a wife, she was strong for me when I had a difficult time. I think sometimes as men we try not to show weakness, but when you are trying so hard for something as delicate and fragile as life, knowing that there is a part of you growing inside the woman you love, you become very attached to that little heartbeat, that child that will soon depend on you for everything, that will look to you for guidance and nurturing.  You can’t help but show emotion.


My baby girl now at 9 years old. Eliana aka. Elly

Desperate times called for desperate measures, and Nan and I both felt God speak to us one year at a conference we were attending in Columbus Ohio. It was one of those messages that stirs you to action, gets you off of your seat and believing God for the impossible.  With tears streaming down my face, faith as high as the sky, we sowed the largest financial seed we have ever sown to this day.  It was a true stretch of our faith not only as a couple, but believing for our family and our futures. After a long and grueling 6 months had passed, Nan was finally pregnant, and with all the let-downs we had experienced before, we didn’t want to get our hopes up only to be let down yet again. The first trimester passed, second trimester finished, and then the third.  Finally on December 13, 2002 on a Friday morning at a very rushed and almost didn’t make dash for the hospital, at 8:48 am Eliana was born .  We named her Eliana which means “God answered my prayer” in Hebrew, and which also happens to be our middle names put together, Eli and Ann.  So needless to say she holds a very special and dear place in my heart.  She’s a daddy’s girl, always excited for me to get home, saying Dada as her first word, and adding the twinkle in my eye and the leap in my step.  If I was sitting down, she always had to be in my lap.  Every moment was with Daddy.  For those of you that have daughters, you understand there is just something special between a dad and his baby girl.  These days she is embarrassed to hold my hand in public, but I know that at night when it’s just her and I she always wants to cuddle, and I will cuddle with her whenever she wants no matter how big she gets.

My problem now isn’t finding time to cuddle with Elly, but rather making room for 5 soon to be 6 kids on my lap.  For some reason they all want to sit on my lap at the same time, and somehow I make room for all of them so no one feels left out. I wonder how we do it with so many kids, but somehow we make it.  Although my kids don’t have every electronic gadget known to man, they have enough that they can experience technology without it becoming the focus of their lives.  They still know how to go play outside and dredge through a forest conquering battles and waging war against the Autobots and Decepticons all under the canopy of a pine tree.  they still know how to enjoy a hot summer day running through the sprinklers, while dad is actually trying to water the grass at the same time.

Being a father is one of the greatest experiences any male can ever encounter and I am every day reminded of what a great responsibility it is at the same time. Sometimes it kinda scares me that my kids will become a product of who I am, and my relationship with them will influence a lot of who they become and grow up to be.  I’d like to think that they would look back at their childhood and see that there is a father that invested time in them, taught them right from wrong, and demonstrated the importance of developing a relationship with a God that loves them very much. Do I lose my temper sometimes, do I get a little rougher with the kids than I want to, do I regret things that I say before thinking, uh…yeah. I’d be lying if I said otherwise. I guess that is the “scary” part, knowing that my behavior influences them either positively or negatively.

Team Sanchez

My family, (well 5 of the kids anyway)

I think about my kids, and I want them to have everything I didn’t have, not too much or not too little, just the right balance so they know how to appreciate things, but don’t feel deprived because all their friends have gadgets they don’t have.  I want them to grow up with values and know that people and lives matter, and when things get rough, it’s not time to give up, but seek God for answers and learn to persevere through difficulty. It is in those difficult and rough patches in life, that we learn to trust in God, and grow stronger and as a father I want to protect them from anything that could possibly happen to them.  Deep inside I know there are those lessons they are going to have to learn on their own, and it’s going to be important for me to be there to help nurture and guide them.  This journey called fatherhood is not an easy one, and I salute and commend all the other fathers out there that are giving their best to their families and their kids, not professing to know everything, but like myself, learning and making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes along the way. I hope you have a Happy Father’s Day and enjoy all the joys and privileges that come with being a father!