Fatherhood Follies: A Day in the Life of One Frazzled Dad

buster-keaton-clockWhen a Tuesday feels like a Monday – an epically bad Monday that could chill your therapist’s spine – you know you’re in for trouble.

Fatherhood is always a challenge, but some days you wonder who is really cut out for gig. Navy SEALS? MacGyver?

The awful day started out on the wrong foot, with my two-year-old son Benjamin waking up at roughly 5:45 am. By the time I got my older son, Elijah, ready for pre-pre-school Benjamin had melted down four times. Big meltdowns, mind you, with all the theatrics parents fear minus the pea soup regurgitation.

Next, I allowed Benjamin to “drive” the family car when we returned home, pushing every button he could find. That seemed to make him happy, but our bliss was short-lived. I subsequently forgot to put a diaper on Ben – he’s potty training at the moment – and he did a no. 1 right through his pants.

Then, I started to make scrambled eggs for Ben but got distracted and left the skillet on the hot stove on for an extraordinary amount of time.

Later, when I strapped Ben in the car to pick up Eli from school I remembered that I had forgotten to shut off the hazard lights. The car battery, much like Generalissimo Francisco Franco – was dead. So my wife had to taxi to the school to pick Eli up. She couldn’t get there on time, which meant she met a tearful Eli at the school office.

The rest of the day felt like a blur. How many more fatherly screw-ups did I have in me? Were the folks at the Guinness Book of World Records keeping a tally?

I sent a “woe is me” email to the Missus, and she shot back a list of the things I had managed to get right:

1. Gave Eli your socks when he didn’t have soccer socks clean.
2. Got Eli to school despite problems with shoes, Ben’s meltdowns, etc. 
3. Responded to said meltdowns in a manner much calmer and sweeter than my Dad would have
4. Called as soon as the battery situation happened, and came up with a solution so Eli’s wait would be as short as possible. 
5. Emailed the teacher, so if they had checked, they would have been able to tell him we were on our way. 
6. Was disciplined and got up at 6 am (I think you might have even worked out)
7. Gave Eli a hug as soon as he got home, letting him know how much you love him. 

That made me feel a little better. I still couldn’t wait for the day to end, but part of me badly wanted a second chance. My kids deserve nothing less.


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