Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Morning was broken

There are all sorts of ways I’m failing in life. And for the most part I’m OK with that. I’m really floundering at work. My current position does not engage me creatively at all, and as a result I am really apathetic towards it. But I can see how that isn’t the worst thing ever. It leaves a lot of creative energy for personal projects. (But of course I don’t have time for those.) It also makes the fact that I can’t work overtime easier to swallow. In my last job I was an art lead; I was defining my own position, heavily into the design process, and always passionate about everything. That made all the overtime I poured into the job a bit too fun and easy. Now that I’m paying a nanny for every hour I work, I don’t have the option of staying late. And I don’t mind. Since my heart is not in it, my work is suffering. And I feel bad about that. I wish I had a stronger work ethic. I guess I was spoiled at my last job. So I would consider my current work a failure. I recognize that it’s wrong and I need to work harder. But I’m not that upset about it.

Another failure I’ve been mulling over is my failed marriage. Although I don’t feel as bad about it as many divorcees do, it’s still provides some valuable self-assessment fodder. I think overall I was an above-average husband. (I’m sure my ex doesn’t see it that way though!) But I’m also very aware of some areas where I was sorely lacking. The most important one being spiritual leadership. I was far too content just to follow and commiserate rather than lead. I’m also going over the myriad of other little things I did wrong and sometimes wondering if I had done them right, could I have kept her from doing what she did? I doubt it. But I'm still a bit shaken by the thought. But overall I’m fairly comfortable with the fact that I’m a human who makes mistakes just like everyone else, and my wife left me for whatever reasons, so… Well yeah. Whatever.

But the one area in my life where I’m not as forgiving of myself is in the parenting department. I’ve got these two precious little lives that God has given me responsibility for. I take that pretty seriously. So when I have a morning like I did today, I’m always miserable. To begin with, mornings are hell for me. I have some sort of sleeping disorder that makes me chronically fatigued. And in the morning, (unless I’ve gotten a good 10 hours) I feel nauseous, dizzy, and really, really grumpy. Now add two hyper active boys who need to be dressed, fed, and reminded 12 times to get their shoes, backpacks and lunch bags to the mix, and you have nothing but pain. We consistently get to school 1 minute late. NO MATTER HOW EARLY WE START! So when I told Justin to go put on his socks, then found him playing with rocks 5 minutes later, I got pretty upset and told him so. We got in the car, and I did the typical parent-lecture about responsibility and not getting distracted, I told him it was his fault we were late now… Then he said, “No, it’s your fault we’re late daddy!” I lost it and yelled at him. He started crying. I’m dodging through traffic mentally chastising myself. I apologized for yelling and prayed for him when I dropped him off at school. But this is one area where I can’t just say, Whoopsey. I screamed at my kid. Oh well.... I mean, I am aware that I screw up as a parent all the time. Especially without a mom to pick up any slack, I can see my failures well. Like my inability to cook nice meals for the kids. I make sure they get the nutrition they need, but it’s served on paper plates with plastic forks and usually comes out of the microwave. I don’t know how they are ever going to learn table manners since we rarely eat at a table. (But they do have good manners in general…. When they remember to use them.) I also fail to play with them enough. Though I am rectifying that starting this week; I’ve set aside half and hour when I get home each evening to play. But it’s times like this morning, when all my failures come into sharp focus on one moment where I lose control for a second, that make me miserable. I just know that their lives are going to be hard enough growing up without a functioning mom. So to have anything less than a stellar dad is just not acceptable.

But school is out now, and I haven’t got any calls from the principal, so I guess he made it through the day all right. Thank God.

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