Before I became a father, I was afraid of the kind of father that I would be. For the most part, I thought I'd handle it pretty well. Not perfect, willing to learn from my mistakes, and always trying to learn from others fathers (especially my own, who is a great Dad and always seemed to be on an even keel even when I was at my worst growing up).
The title of this blog tells you EXACTLY how I feel about being a father now. I love it. Will is the best part of my days and nights. He can make me smile on the worst day just by something he says or does. When I see that cute little face, and he comes running to the door to greet me when I get home from somewhere, it just warms my heart.
So why is the title of this post 'Demons'? Because sometimes, in the midst of the day, my brain gets busy. I am more focused on the things I have to do than the people around me and how much they mean to me. I get impatient, sarcastic, raise my voice, and can just be an out and out jerk. This happened to me today. I felt horrible about it the moment it happened, and have been beating myself up about it all day long.
The day started out like any other. My alarm went off at 5:15, I hopped into the shower, got dressed, and headed downstairs for breakfast. I woke Will up just before 6:30. His normal morning routine is to head straight to the couch for a breathing treatment, followed by a trip to the bathroom. The breathing treatment allows him to gradually wake up, or sleep if he prefers. He holds the mask by himself now, and even turns it on. Such a big boy. Then we get dressed and head to Grandma and Grandpa's house before I'm off to work.
Today, for some reason, I decided to take him to the bathroom to go potty first BEFORE the breathing treatment. My thought was that he would be too tired to even think about it and would just hop on and go. That was my first mistake. He refused. I tried calmly talking him into it. I tried reasoning him into it. I tried anything I could to talk him into it. He refused. That was when the demon came out. I'm not proud of it. I tossed his underwear on the floor, angrily walked out of the bathroom away from him and hit the wall, knocking the carbon monoxide detector down in the process. I know it scared him. I didn't see his face, but I know it did. My intention was not to scare him. It never is. I lost control. In that moment, I felt like I was all alone. Like I alienated Leigh as she stood by and watched. I let Will down. As a father, I never want to intimidate my son. I never want him to be afraid of me. Today, in that moment, I believe he was. And that simply breaks my heart. I feel that as a father, I failed him today. I'm tearing up just thinking about it. Why couldn't I have just said okay, we don't have to go now, we can go do your treatment and try again later? Or given him a hug instead of doing what I did? He is just a three-year old boy.
There are many things that we can have a 'do over' on, but time is not one of them. I wish I could go back in time and redo that moment and handle it in a different way. Will didn't deserve to feel the way he did. Leigh didn't deserve to feel the way she did. In that moment, I failed, and I cannot get it back. But I'll learn from it. I spent my lunch hour at home, on the couch, reading my Bible and praying, listening. Asking God to soften my heart, dull the sharpness of my tongue, and give me a calm and patient spirit. I know He heard my cries.
Why am I confessing this to all of you, here on my blog of all places? In writing this blog, my goal is to be as transparent with all of you as possible. I would ask that you keep me in your thoughts and prayers, send me your good vibes, whatever it is that you feel comfortable doing. When my son looks at me or thinks of me throughout his life, I want him to be proud to call me Daddy. I want to guide him gently, and walk alongside him. He has so many things he is learning all at once, and he is such a bright, smart, funny, wonderful boy. He is so full of energy, always laughing, smiling, trying to have a good time. Such a sweet spirit he has. God definitely sent me a blessing when Will came into my life. I pray that I honor that by being the best father I can be to him.
I'm not the world's biggest country music fan, but this video really got to me when I got wind of it from a friend. Hope it puts a smile on your face.
Watchin You by Rodney Atkins