The Episcopal Church in her wisdom mandates eight weeks of paid parental leave upon the birth or adoption of a child. Hence I am about to begin paternity leave for the third time. I am grateful for this merciful provision, knowing that it is not common practice in the U.S. for employers to pay parents while they take leave to care for a new born. I am also aware that it’s unusual for men to be granted such a long period of time off work (paid or unpaid) to do this sort of vital care-taking. Being somewhat mindful of the privilege I enjoy as a clergy person in our Church, I have decided to “front-load” my paternity leave, beginning July 9th in order to be back at work the second weekend in September. Fran will give birth to baby “No. 3” sometime towards the end of July (a process I am calling Frexit, after the Brexit referendum in the UK). So No. 3 will Frexit in about three weeks time. In the meantime, I will spend some dedicated time at home getting ready for this next big life event.
On a personal note, I am both excited and terrified by the prospect of caring for a new born. I recall how disabled I felt when Charlie was born (let’s rename that event Chexit). I fully anticipate the same fumbling, disabling process to repeat itself this time round. The difference this time is knowing that this sort of humbling transition is perfectly normal and that there is a profound privilege coming our way very soon. I am excited about discovering who we are about to receive into the world and who it is that will join our loving family. Just in case you hadn’t heard, we are expecting a little boy, which is brilliant given that Charlie will have a little brother close to his age to pal around with. Cassie will be six in July and will be forever the big sister of two younger brothers. That strikes me as a good place for Cassie to land in the sibling “pecking order.” While I can’t speak directly for Fran, I do know that she is very excited about No. 3, not least because she is one of three children herself. She has a vision for how we will live into being a family of five and I am reliant upon her big loving heart for making that vision real. In the meantime, I ask for your prayers and continued goodwill during this time of change and transition… and, if anyone knows a cure of being a sleep deprived father of three, please pass that remedy along post-haste.