Adventures Of Fatherhood

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Happy Father’s Day weekend to all the dads out there.

This “holiday” (if it can be called that) doesn’t mean much to me. I don’t expect a free pass to go away with buddies because it’s Father’s Day. I don’t expect the day off from parenting. In fact, give its name, it would seem appropriate to spend the day with my family.

However, what would be nice is if my kids decided to sleep past six in the morning on Sunday, played nice with each other all day, gave me one hour of total peace and quiet on the beach and treated their parents with respect all day. Now that would be a great day if any one of those comes true.

As Father’s Day approached this week, due to the business I am in, I received all sorts of emails trying to sell gift ideas or promote certain appropriate articles and columns to be published. However, one email from a vendor contained a unique message.

Although the author of this is unknown, according to the email, I really liked the message.
It read:

"A father is respected because he gives his children leadership
Appreciated because he gives his children care
Valued because he gives his children time
Loved because he gives his children the one thing they treasure most — himself"

Well, I can say in all honesty I give my kids everything I have every day, but unfortunately that might not always be a wonderful thing because of the extreme emotional and challenging roller coaster ride that parenting can be at times.

That’s not something I expect to change as my sons, 5 and 3 years old, respectfully, grow up. In fact, some parents with teens and older kids assure me that fact will never change. The issues and concerns just become different as the kids get older and in most cases more complex.

To be sure, the issues Pam and me deal with on a daily basis with our kids are simplistic in nature. They deal largely with correcting misbehavior and teaching right from wrong. Basically, we want what all parents want — to mold these stubborn little ones into individuals who act in a respectful, responsible and caring manner to everyone.

To be honest, that’s just not happening all the time right now, and it can be aggravating because we know our kids understand right from wrong, but they sometimes simply choose to behave exactly as we wish they would not. They realize what we expect, and they decide, either collaboratively or individually, to do the opposite. That can be quite annoying and disturbing and often leaves me scratching my head over what is going on inside their little heads. Perhaps most disturbing is the lingering doubt that we as parents might not be doing something right.

For instance, it seems strange to me that the first thought on Carson’s mind the other day when he found a shoe of mine on the floor was to jam it into the toilet. However, that’s exactly what he did last week. While my attention was focused on something else, he grabbed my shoe and ran away. I figured he was just going to put it in a nearby basket where his shoes are kept. I quickly learned that was not the case, as I heard a toilet being flushed and noticed only one shoe where two were previously.

Why did he find that so funny? I have no idea. I would have done the same thing to his shoe to prove a point if I wasn’t going to be the one who would be buying the replacement.

Along the same lines, Beckett should not have to be asked 22 times to pick up the dirty clothes he tossed on the floor instead of where they are supposed to go in his room. On the 23rd time, I should not have to use a tone that makes me sound like I am the angriest man in the world. On the 24th time, he should not mock me by repeating what I am saying. I’m sweating just rehashing that story.

While there are obvious challenges, and I at times find myself disturbed by how frustrated I get along this adventure, there are other moments when I find myself an emotional puddle when it comes to my kids. The last day of school for Beckett this week was one example of this ongoing roller coaster ride.

Earlier in the day, the emotions started when my wife recounted a lovely conversation she had with Beckett’s pre-kindergarten teacher (Mrs. Mancini) on his last morning in her classroom. It was such a touching conversation that I was contemplating faking a dropped call because I was too emotional to speak after she told me the story. Instead, I went the fabrication route, saying something like, “that’s great, I have another call, let me call you back in a minute.”

The emotions continued later when I picked him up from WPS on his last day before summer break. It seems odd to me that I could not read to him the entire note his teachers attached to a package for him without getting choked up. When Beckett asked me what was wrong, I just told him how proud I was of him and that what he was seeing was a good thing. He didn’t understand, but seemed fine as long as I was going to eventually share with him a lifesaver that was inside the package from his teachers.

It’s impossible to know what to do at every turn of this parenting ride, but if these days are any indication, I’m going to be an emotional wreck throughout the twists and turns. Time will tell whether that’s a good thing or not.

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