Lately Daddicus and the rest of the pack have been going through a tough time. I have taken this trial in a light of trying to reconsider how I have performed as a father and husband. I realize I have not been the best, and that is being kind. Sometimes trials help us to discover a better version of ourselves, and I believe I am in the process of doing exactly that. I have found through the humility brought on that I am doing better at trying to connect with my kids especially in the time of COVID.
Thing 1’s school let kids back last week, but we kept her in virtual learning because lets be honest, the ability for schools to adeptly control the transmission of the virus is tenuous at best. I felt justified when within two days a report was sent to parents that a student had tested positive and been at school with symptoms. I digress however, I have struggled with being a good teammate as she works from home because I was devoted to my own endeavors. I often found myself exasperated at the constant interruptions to ask questions.
I had my priorities misplaced. I have an opportunity to work with my daughter during a time that will be a shaping influence in her life. She is a social creature and already having a difficult time being separated from schoolmates on a daily basis and I had not been honoring that. I have since worked on my outlook, seeing questions as an opportunity rather than an annoyance. I do still get annoyed sometimes when she tries outsmart me incorrectly, that’s just my nature, or when she tries to weasel her way out of doing the work. However, I think I am working more toward making these teachable moments instead of emotional reactions.
We only have the one opportunity to help them grow up to be great citizens and good people. I think that is something that can be easy to lose track of, especially if you are the parent at home with them all day alone. Am I tired at the end of the day sometimes from the constant talking and questions? Yes. Is that wrong? No, as an introvert I get exhausted from being around people all day anyway, but if I let that affect the way I interact with her then I am wrong. So, sometimes I put on a smile to hide how tired I am get her through the day. That doesn’t make me a bad parent to put on a smile when I don’t feel it, as long as I am genuinely trying to help her through a trying time in her life.
We ride bikes most days during the short amount of recess time that they provide. The simple act of riding around on our street with her for 20-30 minutes means so much to her. The joy on her face I see makes it easier to put on my smile during the day, especially when she is hurting from having to work from home, while her sister is in daycare. I love her to death and know she will come out from this experience even stronger, but it has taken an attitude adjustment on my part brought on by trial to be who she needs me to be.
I hope whether you are going through trials right now or not that you will be able to reflect on this time in our lives and see if you are being not only the best father, husband, partner you can be but see if you are being the best person you can be. It may seem like an unimportant distinction, but I think there is a line that can be drawn between the two parts of us. I can be a good father and husband, but not a good person and I think that realization is something I know I will dwell on in the future.
Trials in our lives can be a crucible that forges us in the same way that impurities can be burned away in the fires of the smithy. I have been tried to my very core and while I still am beating on myself for my mistakes, I am finding the time to meditate upon myself and identify paths to growth. I will not let this defeat this, I won’t allow myself an early exit or to depend on other things to prop myself up. I will strive to live the healthiest and best life I can and work ever harder to provide the things my family actually need from me.
There is a strength of character that is shown under adversity, there are a number of organizations that embrace this concept and ensure their members face those trials, tribulations or demons in order to uncover that strength and rebuild them as a stronger individual. I have been through this process before, even if the last time was much more directed, controlled and temporary. I am finally recognizing this period of my life for what it is and am making the conscious choice to dig deep to uncover the character that lies deep down and bring that person back for the ladies in my life. I know this is a bit of a dramatic interlude, but it is something I realized as a meditated this morning and hoped to share with those who might need it. It also made me focus on some things I had mediated on earlier this week.
I realized that I had not been giving my wife enough support. Mrs. Rex is one tough cookie who has been through a lot in her life including being drug around the country by my career early in our marriage. Now she is the primary breadwinner and works from home a lot of days, but recently has had to work from her office because of network issues. I know she deserves my full support at all times, but now that her career is in it’s primacy I hadn’t been giving it all the respect it deserved.
I have to rely on it a little more than I had previously and it again brought into focus how I have been as a support to her. I know it will take a while for her to see the change for what it is, but I am embracing the role of household support. My biggest jobs right now are helping our daughter through 2nd grade, keeping the house clean and in order and having dinner ready for her when she gets home. I’ll say to you all that I had no idea how hard it was to be that person and gained a huge appreciation for the role she took on for so long.
We’ll have been married for 10 years next month and more than any other time in our marriage I understand her need for support from me. I aim every day as I lay out what I am going to put on my to do list, how does this support her? Don’t worry, even in the writing of this post today I am allowing some of my thoughts and emotions to find an outlet and that serves her by giving her a balanced partner when she is done for the day.
10 years is a long time and to have included additional trials which we share the burden of, which she is still standing beside me says something about the partner I found. I appreciate everything she has done and still does for our family and don’t say it to her often enough. I grumped about small things and the fact that I had trouble adjusting to my new reality, I see it now and plan to spend the next 40 years making it up to her.
I don’t wake up dreading the life of a househusband but seeing it as an opportunity to show the same type of servant leadership I embraced during my career in a much more important venue. I hope that by being a good partner to her that my girls will see how important it is to find a partner who will embrace that role of service within their relationship. I don’t care whether they fall in love with a guy, girl or small farm animal (as we used to say in my past life), I want them to find someone who will treat them the same way I treat their mother, like she is a treasure and an equal. Respect is something we hammer home in this house, and I hope in addition to love I hope they find someone who will be worthy of their respect and will respect them.
So, watch out if you want to be a part of my girls lives, if you don’t respect my daughters I’ve got friends with land and access to a backhoe (just kidding…or am I? Best not find out). My pack is strong and loyal to these girls and they are even less forgiving than I am. Until next time in the episode of #girlddad this is Daddicus Rex off to answer school questions!