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The Angry Father

It is after midnight now. Fire is coming out of my nose and laser beams fly from my eyes. I am, the angry father. It has been a long ten days and I am responding to a mixture of guilt, frustration and anger. It is a witches brew of emotions that lends itself to rash decisions and foolish actions.

So I sit here at the keyboard and do what I can to blow off some steam and alleviate stress as best that I can. The blog is good for that. A highly useful tool with exceptional utility and practical application. Here I state my claims upon and about that which irritates me. Here I let loose the dogs of war and absorb the slings and arrows of my day.

Hah, nothing like a little melodrama to make life more interesting. In my younger years I viewed myself as a low maintenance kind of guy. Easy going, laid back and able to take things as they come. I have since discovered that it is not entirely accurate. Not really surprising, we all have funny images/impressions of ourselves.

That is not to say that I am a loose cannon with no emotional control or stability because the truth is that I am tough. I am a hard ass who can be the toughest bastard you ever saw. Part of that is natural and part of that is because I am a father. I have obligations and responsibilities to my children that I never forget.

And that is part of why I feel guilty. Guilt because we have an overwhelming need that requires long hours. Work doesn't end. I don't relax because I can't. Ok, I relax for moments in time but not the way that I want to. I feel driven to accomplish things. Driven to provide for my family and under the current circumstances it is a bit more challenging than normal.

So I feel guilty because I can't spend as much time with the children as I'd like. Frustrated because things are harder than they should be, harder than they need to be. So I work harder to find ways to simplify things and all that happens is the tight rope I walk becomes smaller and shakier. Angry because when they are home for spring break I can't work as hard as I need to. Guilty because they don't deserve my anger. Frustrated because I can't give them the time they are asking for.

But that is part of the game we play as parents. It is the circus act we signed up for. I am juggler, clown and ringmaster. I work as the lion tamer and take a turn cleaning up the elephant's crap. And all the while I try to find that mysterious thing we call balance.

I hug them constantly and tell them that dad loves them so often they say "I love you too" even before I say "I love you." These children of mine, they make me proud. They accept me for who I am. And because they are mine they also know how to press my buttons. They thrill and infuriate me these children of mine.

So I look at them and promise that their abba will find time. I say that dad will find a way to beat back the hordes that want my time and I will focus upon them. These are not empty words. I will do it.

And without another word a brother and sister embrace me, arms around my waist, heads leaning against my body. In the dark I smile, and feel a small tear work its way into my eye.

Those two, they did it again.


Ann Imig said…
I work as the lion tamer and take a turn cleaning up the elephant's crap

So true. I am taking my turn right now, with these gorgeous exasperating beasties.
ericdbolton said…
I just started working at home FULL TIME this week. I had been doing it a couple times during the week recently, but now every day.

If my wife wasn't here to corral the kids to another room, there would be a bunch of holes in my wall.

I feel you, bud.
I don't think our parents and grandparents agonized over their parenting choices the way we do, and the world went on and children grew into adulthood and did OK--or not.

Sometimes I think modern parents (myself incl.) are trying too hard to "produce" perfect lives for their children. (As if we could--ha ha ha.) We're so hard on ourselves.
Jack Steiner said…
gorgeous exasperating beasties.

A very apt description.


You should see all the holes I have created here. Ok, no holes yet, but...


I think that you are right about it. It is a vicious cycle that we find ourselves in and I am just not sure how to get off this wacky ride.
If more of us can be honest in this way, maybe all of us can feel less alone as we struggle together to do our best... and maybe even figure out why we are here if not to learn, love, grow and struggle productively.

Hang in.
jack, excellent honest post. thank you. fact is, even though the kiddos think it isn't so-- we're human. and i think one of the greatest gifts we can give our children is to show them that we're fallible and how we come back from our mistakes. i actually think it's comforting to *them* to know that we make mistakes, get angry, etc. right along-side them. thanks for posting this.
Jack Steiner said…
Hi Mamaleh,

I agree with that. It is good for the children to see that we are human. Just frustrating for me to not be able to give them the time they want.


Jack Steiner said…
and maybe even figure out why we are here if not to learn, love, grow and struggle productively

Amen to that.
Ben said…
Great post. As a dad you feel so many emotions, all of them conflicting.