I’m guessing I was cut off, but I’m not certain anymore. It has been several years now; I just remember cursing, like I did before I was a Father. “Shit!” popped out before I had the time to censor myself.
Then I remembered who was in the car with me and I quickly forgot about the rude motorist.
I blushed and sat quietly in the front seat, hoping my passenger hadn’t noticed. Then the squeaky voice of my sweet 3-year-old repeated from the back seat, “Shit!” She said it over and over again as I cringed. Then she asked, “What is shit?”
“Audrey,” I began, “I said shoot.” – because lying makes swearing okay, I guess. But Audrey didn’t take the bate, “No, Daddy you said shit.” Round and round the conversation went, until I finally snapped, “Shit is a bad word, and if you say that again, you are going to get in trouble!”
Thankfully, at three, she didn’t know what a hypocrite was. So she went on to really make me feel terrible, and apologized.
And I wish I could say that everything is perfect now.
I wish I could say that I am finally that Dad I once imagined I’d be. But life just goes by so fast; last week I was a punk kid in school and “Poof!” now I am a father of 4.
When I was little I watched a movie called Hook. The first bit of the movie was about a boy who really wanted his Dad to show up to his baseball game, but his dad always put work first.
What a jerk, right?!
That’s what I thought then, and was sure I would never be like that. Then I got a job, a really good, great paying job. The problem was, I found myself heading in early and coming home to sleeping kids. Nor were my days off sacred to the boss-man.
I remember times, when my kids hung on to my legs begging me to stay and play, but you couldn’t call in for that. And other times, my kids needed their father to come home and discipline them, but again, not a valid reason in corporate America.
Suddenly, I felt for those dads in movies like Hook and Jingle All the Way, and all the other dads who are made to feel like the bad guy for choosing to feed their kids over watching them play. Was the industrial revolution progress from the domestic farm? I wasn’t sure anymore.
Well eventually, enough was enough, I gave up a comfortable income and a dream job, to be with my family. I started a home business, and things are going great, except that I work twice as long for half the pay.
I had this vision of my kids playing quietly at my feet while I worked, so I put my office in the family room, but the kids don’t play quietly, and I constantly have to ask them to tone it down or leave the room, despite the fact that I wear earplugs. I’d move my office upstairs, but I don’t have the time.
Like that’s not frustrating enough, the other day my oldest daughter asked why I don’t play with her anymore. Now I am seriously considering moving to woods, but I can imagine that troubles will follow.
There has to be balance – I just wish the scale was easier to read.
Yet, in spite of my failures, it’s the little moments that count. I’m hoping that my grown children will look back on their childhood and remember all the happy times with their father, little moments that are like treasures in time, and I am praying that God will make the best of my bad parenting.