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Chris Fabry
Married to Andrea since 1982. We have 9 children together and none apart. Our dog's name is Tebow.
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Where We Are Now

After finding and remediating mold twice in our Colorado home, we abandoned ship in October 2008. Because of the high levels of exposure, our entire family was affected. After months of seeing different specialists for all of the problems, we came to Arizona to begin comprehensive treatment to rid our bodies of the toxic buildup. In August 2009 we moved into a larger home, four bedrooms, south of Tucson, north of Mexico. I am doing my daily radio program/ writing from that location. Thanks for praying for us. We really feel it.

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Monday, November 16, 2009
This is a flashback to when our lives were "normal." I'm going to deliver it on Thanksgiving Day on Chris Fabry Live. You get the sneak preview. Enjoy.

A few days a week I drive our elementary aged children to school. It gives them about a half hour more of sleep and it gives me a morning break from whatever I’m working on. I remember my first day driving them. I was unprepared for what I was about to experience.

The school at that hour is packed with buses, children swinging lunch boxes, parents waving and hugging, and a long line of cars trying to get in and turn around in the parking lot to drop children and then get out of Dodge. There are orange cones to help you navigate in a circular manner. Signs say, please pull all the way forward. The general tenor of those standing to wave traffic on is, “Let’s keep moving, people.”

Incredibly, what I saw was moms pulling up, stopping, saying goodbye, giving final words of affirmation, handing out lunches, almost every one of the five love languages. In some cases, moms stopped, got out—a clear violation of protocol—and herded the kids to the sidewalk and then got back in. I could understand the physical touch and the words of affirmation, but to tell you the truth this was not a place for quality time.

One trip with my wife was enough to show how differently we approach such things. She lovingly made sure each was buckled BEFORE we drove from the house. She talked with them about their day, what they were looking forward to, acknowledging each teacher and the special events of the past or coming up. When we reached the 20 mph flashing yellow in the school zone, she made sure they all had their mittens and hats on, their coats zipped. Then, in line, she told them what they’d do after school. It took a couple of minutes after she stopped to get going again because she had to kiss them and wave and smile and wipe a tear from her eye.

This is not the way dear old Dad drops the kids off. We approach this in vastly different ways. Here’s how I look at it. I am on a sacred mission behind enemy lines to perform a drop and escape. I am not there to stroke egos, I am not there for their self esteem, my sole mission is to safely get them into that place of education and RETREAT. Pull back outside enemy lines. Period. As soon as everyone gets in the car, I have it in reverse, telling each of the soldiers to buckle up, buckle up, buckle, buckle, buckle.

I go the back way which is a little shorter and cuts about 22.3 seconds off the trip. I flip on the radio so the children can get up to date on the latest news, so that if a teacher brings up something like the economy or what Ben Bernanke said this morning or the war or whatever the hot topic is, they’ll be ready. I don’t have time for chit chat. This is war.

As we pass the flashing yellow light, I bark, “Unbuckle, unbuckle, unbuckle.” It usually takes about 18 seconds for them to get the belt undone and pick up their water bottle that falls from the backpack, and then we’re in line.

“All right, everybody have everything?” I say, as if it mattered at this point. There’s no way I would turn around, even if one of the kids had forgotten their pants.

Making the turn into the parking lot, I see those moms trying to nurture and love in the middle of this childhood warfare. There are a few guys in line who glance my way and give the secret dad signal.

“All right, 30 seconds, side doors ready?”

“Side doors ready,” Kaitlyn says.

“Okay, have a good day, don’t poke anybody in the eye, or kick, or bite or scratch. Unless you absolutely have to.”

“We won’t, Dad.”

“Bye Dad,” Colin says, leaning forward and giving me a kiss on the cheek. I allow this physical touch as long as it’s before we actually stop.

We’re halfway along the sidewalk, about 20 yards from the front, but I can tell by the moms ahead that this is our moment. This is our small opportunity to make things for the people coming in line a little easier and the opportune moment to disembark.

“Hit the beach, hit the beach, hit the beach,” I yell.

The door flies open, the troops pour out of the landing craft, the last one out closes the door and waves. They’re up the sidewalk and almost into the school and I am still in line.

This is not the way my wife does it. But it works for me. At least it did until Sunday when I pulled up to our place of worship to let my wife and children out. There was a car right behind me and Brandon was dawdling in the back seat. I looked sternly at him as he casually unbuckled and said, “This is church, Dad. We don’t have to hit the beach.”

To which my wife said, “What’s hit the beach?”

5 comments:

anika said...

that would SO be how my husband would handle that! HA... VERY FUNNY
delightfully so :)

Anonymous said...

Chris--

My husband, also a writer, likes to know when his writing makes me LOL. Hit the Beach made me LOL. I think a good writer writes about ordinary events but connects with people.

You reminded me of my high school bus driver. But instead of getting out, I was getting on. She never came to a complete stop and I always had to calculate how much she would slow down before I would jump on. My mom drove my 2 younger sisters to school.

Keep up the good work!

P.S. "Normal" is such an obscure word, isn't it?

Tammy in PA said...

I love it! Dad's have such a unique way of taking their kids to school. Once our daughters hit the high school age, he would drop them off. Dad's can have such a unique and quirky relationship with their kids. Thanks for the fun story, keep 'em coming!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family as well.

Anonymous said...

Oh Chris, Thanks for the laugh!!! I needed that so much!!

Anonymous said...

Chris, Thanks so much for the laugh. Just like the military, Hit the beach! Made me laugh, Thank You!! You make my day, from the eye's of a once single parent.
You are a wonderful story teller!
:P