It was, as we say in parentville, a long full day. It is 11:15 pm at the time of this writing and I am exhausted. This was a day for a Dad.
And I hope I was a good one.
I woke up to kids being awoken by the baby I watch during the day arriving. I made my coffee and Got the kids kids settled in for the morning. My dearest wife was up and out early with working (still an odd switch for me being home) and I prepared to start to the day. I was trying to get the coffee flowing in my veins but I could not get get motivated. I was sluggish and let the kids play and watching cooking shows as I struggled to get my rear in gear.
We have since moved into a new friends house. A lot of stress and pressure from were we were staying at was relieved. This brought with it a whole new stress. A stress that has made empires rise and fall. It has ended more than one marriage in my personal knowledge and is the one thing I have come to hate.
A dear friend who saved us from a difficult living situation has let us stay with him at no cost, and it has helped in more ways than I can count. The unfortunate side effect is that half our weekly income was also taken away in this move and we had to step up other bills. Medicine and medical bills have been due and past due. The shovel of paper is endless in the never ceasing tide in search of the green monster that I am to hold.
But it is not there for me to give.
I have been blessed by more people than I can name here who have come forward to help, and please don’t let me say that this is the most desperate I have been. I have lived in a time and place were I was trying not to steal a roll of toilet paper from work because I knew I had none at home. I have counted the pennies to go get a dollar burger from McDonald’s for lunch during a 12 hour work day and knew I had to make it last as my only meal. Hard times were every time. I am truly blessed with dear friends and wonderful family who have helped me in every turn.
Help was also due today in the form of “tax return”. Tax time is a wonderful time for me as I have dear friends who I go to for my taxes and I get money to pay those horrid bills that stack against me. It seems odd to look forward to doing your taxes, but in my case I rejoice.
My dearest wife and I set out to do taxes and other errands. We had just managed to put money in the bank to pull us out of the overdraft scare that comes when automatic billing comes at the wrong time when we realized that it was late in the day and my wife had a work event going on soon. I also had been invited with my girls to go see Kung Fu Panda 3 and this was to be a time of joy with my daughters.
We went to the theater with friends and we settled in for a good time. I got us a Sprite to drink as it was going to run late and I did not want caffeine for the girls. My eldest daughter, however, did not appreciate the drink choice I bought. She sat there and refused my offers of drink to the point of tears. I asked in hush whispers what was the matter and she let me know she hated Sprite and all she wanted was water. I told her I would go and get her some when she burst into more tears and told no in full body horror. I sat shocked at the way she said it and asked why not and I was met with a “I don’t want to tell you.” I told her again to let me just go and get her some water and the look of horror filled her eyes and she begged for me not too.
I sat in my chair confused to what was going on when my daughter leaned in and said I didn’t need to spend the money on her. It clicked. I told her not to worry about it and I would go and get her some water so she could have a drink. She was crying so hard at this point, I wasn’t sure I could stop her. She said I didn’t need to spend money on her like this and she would be fine. I told her that she didn’t need to worry about that and I would go buy her a drink. She finally broke and let me go buy it for her but was still extremely upset that I did it. I told her we would talk more about it when we got home.
We left the theater in much better spirits as the movie was excellent (I will talk more about it in my vblog this week). We came home to my dearest wife returned and we all sat in our room for a nice chat. Both my daughters explained (in great detail for the ages of 6 and 8) that they knew how tight money had been and how their mom and I were so stressed about money that they were scared to ask for anything because they didn’t want to cause us stress.
My heart aches just writing about it.
Tears came to my eyes as I explained that I wouldn’t spend money I didn’t have on them. I told them I would never be upset at them for asking for things. I said the only time I would be upset is when I told them “no” to something and they kept asking or crying about wanting it. I explained there was a time and place to spend money and I would keep track of that. I explained that it was my job to worry about it, not them.
Oh dear hearts of children.
I realize that my stress had bled over to them and it angered me. It had disgusted me to my core. Oh little pitchers with big ears, what do you hear? I felt a failure as a parent. And then they did something magical.
I stood there beating myself up inside when they said they understood and that they would do their best to better. They said they loved me and mom and they would do what they could to help.
Out of the mouth of babies came redemption.
I still feel pride as well at how they reacted and handled it. I feel I have much work to do to be better, but they were with me with a second chance. Who hasn’t made a mistake?
And I will do better next time.
Hug a pony my friends.