“I just don’t want to make your day worse.” My daughter’s tearful words to me before bed hit me like a proverbial shovel (or whatever proverbially hits people). I paused and explained to my little girl that her Dad had a tough day at work.
“You and your brother make my day better,” I said to her, “not worse. Definitely not worse. It’s not your fault that I was grouchy. That is my fault. I let my day upset me and I’m sorry I was grouchy with you tonight.”
I told her I love her very much and turned off the light. She turned over, went quiet and soon fell asleep. I sat with her like I usually do, this time in the growing realisation that letting myself become so caught up in my day stress-stuff meant I was putting strain on my family, my refuge from it all.
Trying to be a better Dad
When I find myself anxious or upset during my day about some or other stressor, I keep thinking that I should be able to handle it all better. After all, I’m 40 years old and I’ve been through more stressful things than this. When do I start behaving like the grown-up I am supposed to be and process my stress in a constructive manner?
It isn’t Father’s Day in Israel today but considering I’m formerly a South African and it was Father’s Day there (and elsewhere) today, I’ll go with it for now. Father’s Day is a celebration of fatherhood (yes, and an over-commercialised event, blah blah). It is another reminder to me of how fortunate I am to be a Dad to our amazing children.
In recent days, I think I have lost sight of that a bit and I let myself be snared by my stresses. This adult thing isn’t easy. It seems there isn’t really a manual for that one either.
I suppose all we can do is try be aware of our behaviour; get better at letting go of the crap we can’t change and change the crap we can. Most importantly, don’t lose sight of the people who make it all worthwhile: our family and friends.
If all else fails, I hear crying in a manly way into your beer or brewing a perfect flat white helps. I’m partial to Mumford & Sons’ Wilder Mind, but that could just be me.
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