So Close… Yet So Far Away

The title of this entry refers to one of my favorite Hall and Oates songs. There aren’t many Hall and Oates songs I don’t like- they were one of my favorite duos growing up in the late 70’s and early 80’s. In most parts of America during 1979-1985 if you listened to top 40 radio at all, they had a ton of hit songs on the radio. Although my favorite album still remains “Private Eyes”, I even follow their new material and have indoctrinated my children to the wonderful rhythm and blues, soul and rock sound of this Philadelphia two some.

That’s not what I plan on talking about though. Once again I’m feeling intense overload with pressure. My daughters are in their third week of school. The youngest one seems to be moving along better with her day in and day out school routine, and while complaining about the sheer amount of homework per day she’s receiving, she’s been getting through it with minimal amounts of losing her cool. My oldest daughter though is struggling with her sophomore year of high school.

It appears that the subject matter is harder- and I think there are times that she wants the challenge yet doesn’t want the bar set too high as to fail and fall. Instead of one assignment per subject for homework, some of her teachers are giving her 3-4 assignments, and I think she feels like she can’t complete it to the best of her ability. Today when she came home from school, instead of asking for help on the reading assignments we had a full out power struggle in which she decided name calling and over powering my role as her father mattered more than getting her homework done right away.

It all started wrong when she called from school before getting on the bus home. She asked if she could hang out at the city library to do her homework, claiming a distraction free environment away from her younger sister. Even though my wife and I had a family discussion yesterday about going to the library alone due to other issues, I reminded her the answer would be no unless I go in a supervisory role. Getting off the phone and watching the frown upside down look as she entered the house followed by the abrasive “Don’t talk to me!” made me want to run for the hills.

An hour later after a nap and a talk with my wife, she did apologize and we were able to get some of the homework done peacefully. The emotional roller coaster every afternoon though is something I didn’t grow up with- so it’s tough for me to handle 5 days a week, and sometimes this spills over into the weekends. Couple that with changing hormones and continual doubts about birth family memories, and I wonder when the ride will ever lay off.

As a father I want to save them- I want to help them- I want to take all of their worries away. My wife reminds me though that my propensity to teach them life lessons isn’t necessary in that given moment of mind confusion. They need short, crisp sentences- easy to understand and easy to process. There’s a time and place for the why’s- just get to the facts and repeat them if they don’t understand the first or tenth time.

So I may take a mental vacation this weekend. I need some time to go back within myself, reflect and understand what I need to really do as a father to be great for my daughters. They don’t need frustration, impatience, lectures, anger- they need support, strength, guidance and love. Maybe it will be a weekend show, or visiting some good friends in another part of the state- who knows. I just know I need to take a break so that I give 100% of myself for my wife and kids, and not feel like I’m just a punching bag or a taxi cab or a bank resource.

Until next time, thank you again for listening to my ranting and raving. If you have any help, suggestions, or feedback, please feel free to comment away. I read everything you have to say and I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my entries whenever they get the chance to.

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