I thank my bowling friend Ernie for giving me a boost regarding the outlook of my children. He reminded me that as they grow within our family, they may not be appreciative of the job my wife and I are doing- but they will remember as they get older. It may take into their 20’s or 30’s to sink in, but the steady influence of just being there through the good times and bad will pay dividends in the long run.
I suppose the back and forth banter with “I hate you” or “you’re the worst parent ever” or my favorite these days, the one word “whatever” refrain should mean you are impacting their lives in some way. If they totally withdrew from life and didn’t want to engage in any manner, than you would see bigger problems. Both of my children get compliments for their eye contact, their verbal/ vocabulary skills and for the most part don’t engage in poor behaviors in the school system. The fact that they save the worst for home shows where they feel safest.
I would love to know when the past levels off and we can live more in the here and now. I hate that any time a crisis enters the picture, their head space reverts back to the worst moment in their lives- usually a moment that we only read about on paper through documentation. We feel like we are digging out of a hole we weren’t responsible for creating. I think that’s why my wife and I use humor as a baseline to keep us sane- plus we have outside resources pursuing our personal interests that help take stress into better directions.
We are teaching our children to learn that you can’t stop feelings from coming into your mind- the trick is the ability to steer that feeling in a better direction if it’s undesirable to you. My oldest daughter will dance or play some of her favorite music and start singing to get her thinking of something different. My youngest will draw or color, and we are thinking of others items that can be done as she seems to have more angry feelings than her sister. I will do housework (I find washing dishes or doing some laundry therapeutic believe it or not), bowl, read, write or listen to music. Sometimes I will just call and talk to my wife- ask her about things going on in her world so that I can take myself out of the situation for the moment.
It’s important to be there for these children. Even when I go away for a bowling tournament, I make it a point to tell them I love them and hug them before I leave. I don’t want them to ever thing I will abandon them. I’m here for life, even when they want to push me away. Even when they’d rather have their mom home when they appear through the front door during the weekday afternoons. It’s my job to show them what a father’s role should be: dependable, reliable, a resource for an ear to listen, and to keep the household safe and secure for them to thrive.
It’s time for me to retire for the night. Have a wonderful day everyone!