There is no doubt that, for me, parenting is the best job there is. But even the best jobs have difficult days.Sometimes there are difficult weeks. Sometimes those difficult weeks stretch into frustrating seasons.
This winter seemed never ending. I am pretty good at not wanting to rush time and savoring the moment I am in, but towards the end the cold felt like it owned our little piece of paradise. I was tired of keeping a fire going, which saved us a ton of money. I was over not spending time outside, because it seemed we couldn’t all get well at the same time. I was sick of having snow on the ground, because I felt trapped.
I say all of this because I want you to know the hope that was in my heart for the amazing warmth of spring and summer.
But it seems with the transition of the seasons, my son began a transition of his own. He is three now, so suddenly our sweet pliable little man began to be defiant and whiney and, in all honesty, kinda mean to his little sister at times.
I got very woe is me about this. I was so frustrated that we had finally made it to the sweet summer time and his nature jumped off a cliff.
Which leads us to an encounter a couple of days ago in my parent’s living room.
We had gone over to my Mom and Dad’s house (me, my son, my daughter, and a good friend of mine) so that we could swim. There was a little whisper in the back of my mind that said we shouldn’t go because it was going to mean we were going to miss nap time. I told myself, though, we would be swimming and it would be fun and we would be happy as clams. And we were. For about an hour.
Then the whining started. The discontent took over. Nothing could make him happy.
I threatened him with going inside a number of times. Usually I don’t give that many warnings but I wanted to keep swimming. I was neglecting my duties as a Dad because I wanted to float in the cool water and feel the sun on my face.
Then I had had enough.
He was sent inside.
Which meant I went with him.
I made him lay on the sofa while I sat in a chair and prayed for wisdom as to how to handle his behavior. Then it happened. It was a natural reaction. I started to cry.
He was staring at me and I didn’t really care. I wanted him to know I was hurt. But his reaction wasn’t what I expected because he started to laugh.
I asked him why he thought it was funny and he said, “Daddies don’t cry! Mommies and little kids cry. But not Daddies.”
I walked over to him and saw that I needed to show him this part of my heart. The vulnerable, lost, sad part of me that I try to shield him from.
I explained why I was crying. I let him know why I was sad. I did my best to explain my frustrations with him in toddler words. I don’t know how well I did.
But I know what I did do. I showed him by example that it is ok to feel. I let him know Daddies do cry sometimes. Because we aren’t superheroes even though I love it when he looks at me like I am.
So Daddies…cry. Show your boys especially that it is ok. We are human. And we hurt.
In the end, I am still his hero. Which I am thankful for. But I cried. And it felt good.