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As we walked down the windy path next to Lake Lynn, we heard the compassionate voice of an older mother, “Oh you have your hands full today don’t you?” She walked by slowly almost wanting to stop and help us by snatching all of the 5 kids into her arms. She looked sweet but worried, concerned for the life of these 3 girls and 2 boys but relieved that she was way past the madness of those years.

I took the boys to see Uncle Louis and Auntie Beth (and their gorgeous daughters) for a very manly play date. Got the boys ready to go by 9:30am and felt like a champ because we got there on time. Diaper bag was fully loaded for a morning of fun, parks and the classic rice and beans lunch. We had a great time dragging 2 stroller, 3 scooters, 2 diaper bags and 5 kids between the ages of 6 and 1 for what seemed like 15 hours.

The dads chatted about this general response, because in the 2 hours we actually walked, everyone looked at us with a smile, but with obvious concern.

And I don’t know if I am meant to be offended or thankful? Every time someone hears that I’m alone with the boy for 8 days they either look terrified for our well-being or they grin the evil grin of death because they know how much work it is (and somehow they believe God is punishing me… and according to them, I fully deserve it)

Maybe I should be sad for my wife because she’s expected to do this everyday of her life without no one looking concerned. Or maybe just feel proud for every mom that has demonstrated to this world that they are super women capable of raising kids, working, cooking, and everything else they do in between. to my mom and wife, you are my heroes!

Best case scenario for me, milk it. Let everyone know how absolutely “horrible” it has been and get every mom over 50 in Raleigh come visit us and cook pulled pork, green beans with mac and cheese for me and the boys. Every day. For the next 6 days.

But to be honest with you, it’s been pretty easy. I think the boys themselves know I need assistance, so they have been super helpful and willing. I’m sure Catherine has demonstrated to them what compassion for the lost and the hurting looks like and my sons are following her example famously.

Yes Alejandro peed his pants twice because I never asked him if he needed to go pee-pee. Yes they mostly ate chocolate throughout the whole day because I did not have the mental energy to push the fruit and veggies. Yes Sebastián drank an unknown amount of toilet water before I found Him. And yes it was 10:45pm and I was still watching The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with Alejandro while eating Bananas with Nutella.

At least I got one fruit in there.

But most importantly, they are alive… and so am I. Not just alive, but happy to be a dad. And grateful for the church community that is family to the Rodríguez clan.

Thank you to titi Kristen for helping me clean. Thank you to titi Lucy for taking care of the boys so I could go teach tonight. And thank you to Ray and Catrelle for feeding me plantains.

So don’t be too concerned. But please, keep being very concerned.

Hugs. C