How Far Can You Push Dad

"Last night I dreamed I died and stood outside those pearly gates.
When suddenly I realized there must be some mistake.
If they know half the things I've done, they'll never let me in.
And then somewhere from the other side I heard these words again.

And They said, "Let me tell you a secret about a father's love,
A secret that my daddy said was just between us.
You see Daddies don't just love their children every now and then.
It's a love without end, amen, it's a love without end, amen."
Love Without End, Amen- George Strait

Confession time. Those two paragraphs make me choke up, almost every time. I suppose that you can attribute to a mix of being a father and a son. I understand both sides intimately, something that my children don't quite understand. They are young enough that it still throws them when I catch them doing things that they shouldn't.

It is kind of funny to see the looks on incredulity on their faces. It is almost utter amazement that dear old dad has figured out again who took an extra cookie (crumbs on the floor) or was reading under the cover with a flashlight (I can see the light through the blanket).

And of course there are the looks that they sometimes exchange when they hear me call my parents anything other than grandma and grandpa. This morning my daughter asked why I slip between Hebrew and English. Sometimes I say abba and eema or sometimes mom and dad. I turned the question around and asked her why she does it. She shrugged her shoulders and said "I asked you first."

I laughed. She really is my girl in so many ways which is why I am screwed, in a good way of course.

Lately she and her brother have been testing my patience. It is not unusual or unexpected.Truth is that I have been testing the patience of everyone around me for a thousand years now so I have no grounds to complain upon.

Still I have tried to make it infinitely clear that there are consequences for our actions and that they will be held accountable for them just as their parents are. The other day the two of them managed to tag team me into a serious case of parental frustration and anger.

The how and why of it don't really matter. But I can tell you that the final straw was when the dark haired beauty tried to get my attention during a business call.I was pacing back and forth and she was doing everything she could to get me to look at her. I smiled, waved and gave her the usual signal of "not now, I'll help as soon as this is done."

It worked for a moment, but then it passed and she decided to try to get my attention by tapping me on my leg, only she missed. Unfortunately she didn't miss the boys. I don't know what look I gave her, but her older brother grabbed her and said something like "run!"

To be honest, I am not sure how the call ended. Can't tell you if I said goodbye or hung up. But I do know that I let out a barbaric yawp and then stormed out the door and into the garage. Once inside I started beating the crap out of the heavy bag. Every punch was accompanied by a stream of four letter words.

A short time later I had regained my composure and walked back inside the house and found out that I hadn't been cursing as quietly as I had thought as the dark haired beauty asked me why I yelled "motherfucker" so many times.

I smiled and told her that she was mistaken, but was corrected by my son who said, "dad you said motherfucker a lot." I looked at them and told them that I was glad that they listened so carefully to my words. This didn't go over as well I would have liked because it encouraged the dark haired beauty to tell me some of the other words I had used.

We sat down and had a quick conversation about why I was angry and whether it is ok for me to use the bad words. I think that this was the first time that I ever told them to do as I say and not as I do. But we'll save that for a different post.

Hours later when they had long since been tucked into bed and I sat in the dark and remembered a few moments when I was on the other side of the fence. And I couldn't help but wonder how they'll remember these moments.

I remember being their age and the occasional potch I received from my father. It wasn't something that happened more than a handful of times. I remember him yelling and how loud he could be. But what sticks out are the moments when he was quiet. I think that I was more afraid of the silence than anything because I didn't know what would happen.

It occurs to me that my son said something about that. I don't yell very often because I don't have to. They really are good kids. Not to mention that my voice is relatively deep so it is not hard for me to be heard. But there are moments where all they get is a glare.

That's because I try not to say anything that I'll regret later.Not to mention that sometimes the crestfallen look on their faces kills me. It is a real roller coaster ride this parenting thing. Wouldn't change it for the world, but some times....


Debbie said...

a rollercoaster ride..exactly!! Some days so smooth and slow..some days it goes so fast it spins by so fast..and sometimes I feel sick and sometimes exhillarated...but always I can't wait to wake up the next day and do it all over again!:)

Jack Steiner said...

If you can wake up ready and excited to do it all again than things are pretty good. At least I think so.

Gary said...

Hi Jack,
I have 2 daughters who are now thankfully grown up and living their own lives. When they were younger and living at home I was convinced that their main purpose in life was to have me admitted to an asylum. At the time they could't understand why I said or did the things I needed to as a father leading two 'innocents' through the early stages of life. Now the eldest one is married with two children and I smile to myself as I see her doing the same things with her kids that she used to hate and misunderstand that I did with them.

Jack Steiner said...

Hi Gary,

I have to imagine it is quite rewarding to see your children turn into adults. I am looking forward to it, but not for a long while.

Can't imagine being a grandfather.

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