(Why am I awake and staring at the ceiling? He’s not crying, and neither of the girls are stirring. So…why am I awake?)
(Oh. She’s puking.)
Sicky the stomach bug made a guest appearance at the house today, incapacitating my wife. While no one else has gotten sick yet – knock on wood- an important lesson which we all learned as children was reiterated in a big way: Mammy matters.
I like to think I’m a good dad. I change the diapers whenever there’s an opportunity. I do most of the dishes. I do most of the cooking. I try to be home every day at a good hour and spend as much time with my kids and wife as possible. I dote. I spoil. I discipline.
The fact still remains, however, that no matter what I do, I’m not Mommy. I interact with my girls on a different level than she does. Likewise with my son. She (my wife) tells me about their cuddle sessions at night, in the rocking chair in the room, where the girls stroke her face and nuzzle and caress her hair before falling asleep. In the same scenario, I get a hug, a kiss and a “I love you, Daddy” before they nuzzle into my chest and fall asleep.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I cherish those drool marks just below the armpit. I’m just illustrating the difference in my relationship from my wife’s. My son doesn’t cry whenever he hears my voice but can’t see me, as he does with his mom. He smiles and comes crawling to me whenever I enter the room, and I was the first one he officially “reached” up for, asking to be picked up.
I interact with the progeny in a different way from their mother. In some cases I discipline more harshly, and in same cases I sneak them the cookies under the table. My kids get some of what they need and require from me, and my wife provides the complement. We are a tandem machine, running a household and raising kids in a soul-enjoined partnership.
And when the better half of that partnership breaks down…let’s just say bad things happen around the house. Dishwashers break, snow remains unshoveled, diapers disappear in one room, only to reappear in another…get the picture? I swear that I left the room for 5 seconds to turn off a tea kettle and when I returned, my son had the remote in his nose, my eldest was doing the Harlem Shake and my middle child had flown up to the top of the entertainment center. And I still don’t know where the cheese stick went!
I’ve learned, and am still learning, that I can’t go through this life alone.
- I used to think I could do my job by myself. Now I’m learning that by asking for help I am far more efficient.
- I used to think I could raise my kids just fine if I was alone. Now I’m learning that I can only fill half their actual needs.
- I used to think I knew all the answers. Now I’m learning that I barely even know the questions.
See where I’m going here?
As fiercely independent as I am, I have needs that I can’t meet on my own. On the rugby pitch, I rely on my teammates to get me the ball when I need it. At home, I entrust my wife with bills and bank ledgers. I trust FedEx. I trust my car mechanic. I depend on the weatherman. I need, they provide.
We all have needs to be met throughout life. Recognizing those needs is paramount to overcoming obstacles placed in front of us. Some of the needs are tangible: a delivery, an answer, etc… Some are abstract: knowledge, encouragement, and so on. If you came to me tomorrow with a need, I might be able to assist you. I might not. It depends on what your need may be, and what my skillset is in relation to you. I’ve received a half-dozen emails regarding my Overcoming Discouragment post this past weekend. It seems the right words were written at the right time. I’m just trying to do my part in encouraging you to seize control of your life. I’ve been encouraged, I just want to pay it forward.
Today, my wife was sick. Ergo my whole household was “sick”; it wasn’t functioning properly. I need my wife. She completes me, our house, and our family. I want to be present and help anyone else who needs it. If you need advice, a board to sound off on, encouragement, or tips on better bechamel sauce, I’m your guy. Don’t hesitate to email, leave a comment, or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. I respond.
Why? Let’s put it this way. The wife managed to get my car stuck in a snow covered driveway last week, and a good Samaritan driving by helped plow her out. When we contacted him to properly thank him and give him something to show our appreciation, he simply replied that we pay it forward.
That’s why. I just want to pay it forward.