Why ask why? I am sure you are wondering why I am asking this question right? Just the question “Why?” has been very popular in our house lately.
Just the other day I was fixing one of the toilets and the Kid was, I hesitate to say getting in my way and asking me what I was doing. I told him I was fixing the toilet and the first thing out of his mouth was
“Because it is broken.”
A puzzled look came across his face. I could see that he was looking at the toilet and saw nothing wrong with it.
There comes a moment in a man’s life when he says or does something hits him over the head, and I’m not talking about the wife’s hand hitting the back of our head when we say something stupid. I’m talking about a moment that might flutter by at that particular time but a day later, he realizes just what happened at that moment. For me, that moment was yesterday during a job interview.
I have not said it yet here on my site, but I have brought it up over on Dads Round Table, I have been laid-off. It is tough when you are supporting a son and a wife going through law school. It feels like everything has been stripped from me. Having three months left until my last day, which ironically falls on my birthday, every day I walk into to work my pride sinks and my feeling of being needed is crushed just a little bit more.
I try to be a good influence on you. There are times that I know I’m not that great of a dad. For that, I am sorry. I am working on being the best dad that I can be. There are times like when I lost your trust that makes me feel like an awful father. Or the days where I can teach you that listening to your mother is a good thing. Then there are days where you do not want me to go to work and just hug my leg until I have to go. It is not easy being a father, but I learned from the best.
You might not realize yet, but your dad also had a dad who was a great influence in his life. That is right, Grandpa! The person that you usually see through the phone on a Face time call. The man that you are so excited to see, who drives 8 hours to come see you, and to have you just be goofy and not play with him. Little do you realize, that he was a major influence in my life. I learned so much from him, despite the grief that I caused him. He made it to every little league game, the man who dropped everything to teach me how to mow the lawn, and the man who passed down his love for technology to his son.
It may appear that your grandfather and me have a great relationship, and we do, however, it has not always been that way. I did give him a lot of grief growing up, whether it was the time that he would not let me go to a summer long summer camp or that I was tired of him coaching each my baseball teams. What I did not realize was just the type of father that he was being, a caring loving father. I see that now that I am a dad.
Ever since he became a grandfather, I have seen a change in him. I have seen the relationship between me and him grow substantially since he became your grandfather. We talk more, we even hug now, which is a huge step for the two of us. A lot of it has to be that I have grown-up and taken after your grandfather, but part of that is because you. He may not know it, but he has passed down wisdom to me that I hope I will pass down to you, family before everything. No matter your wealth or your popularity, family will always be there. Did you have a rough day? Your family will always be there to pick you up. Did you have a bad day on the ball field? Your family will help you break out of your slump. In the end family is all you have.
Kid, you might not know this, but you are extremely lucky to have a grandfather who loves you as much as he does. When I see him playing on his iPad with you I cannot help but smile knowing that the two of you are going to have an incredible relationship. I see the joy in his eyes when he sees you and the smile on his face. He taught me how to be a father and now, he is teaching me to be a grandfather.
Son, I only wish that I could be half the father that your grandfather was to me. I look at it this way, I had a pretty good teacher growing up and I will try to pass that down to you.
I pride myself on being a good cook. I’m better off being outside next to the grill and one of the things that I have become accustom to grilling is a hot dog. Not for me, but for the Kid. He loves them! Can you blame him?
One night, I was finishing up a pair of pork chops on the grill, and a hot dog for the Kid. I pulled the dog, chops, and potatoes off the grill and brought them to the table. I served up our delicious meal. I made one slight change to my grilling method,which I’m still perfecting before making it public, and our pork chops were excellent. The Kid was chowing down on some strawberries and some graham crackers.
I looked down at our dog who was panting from being outside and said, “You are a hot dog aren’t you?” She proceeded to look at me like, I don’t know what you are talking about but I’m waiting for the kid next to you to drop some food.
The Kid looked up from finishing off the crackers, looked at me, then to the hot dog, then to our dog, and back to the hot dog. The most pathetic whimper was let out when I realized exactly what I had done. It was that moment that I realized by calling our dog a “hot dog” the Kid was associating it with the hot dog that he was eating. He flat-out refused to finish his meal.
I felt awful. I tried to explain that a hot dog is not an actual dog but to no avail. Seeing the look on his face and knowing that he was thinking, “What are you going to do to Anna dad?”
After making an exception of not taking one bite of everything on your plate, we let him down to play. I went to clean up the table, but left the hot dog in question on the table. Part of me was wondering if he would forget the entire conversation and come back hungry.
To make the situation up to the Kid, I built a tent. A tent to my son is just a blanket covering up your entire body. When we were both in the tent, we told each other secrets, popped our head out of the blanket looked at Hot Mama and just giggled to some unknown whispers. As we pulled the blanked back over our heads, I asked, “Are you hungry?” He responded with a big “YES!” and then went to his seat and started chowing down on his hot dog.
This was one of those teachable moments for a father and son. While it might be difficult for a 2-and-half year old’s mind to comprehend that a hot dog is not actually made up of hot dogs, it was probably the first time that he realized that what he eats, sometimes was once a living breathing thing. For me, I found out that I should never EVER compare something we are about to eat to be or was a living breathing thing. You live and learn!
Have you ever lost your child’s trust only to gain it back again?
There are a few things that I have learned along my journey in parenting. One of which I just recently wrote about in a letter to the Kid, others I probably should have written down to remember. I did not realize that though, that telling a 3-year-old would result in catastrophic chaos.
Telling my son we would be flying in a plane to go on vacation.
Some of you are probably asking, what the big deal is? Well, our vacation is a month out. I can wait, in fact I’ve learned patience as a parent. Patience to a 3-year-old is about the span of 5 minutes.
My first mistake is that I pointed to the sky one night as a plane flew by and said we are going to ride in one of those soon. My resulting error was probably in one word, soon. Never say that to a toddler. About 5 minutes later another plane flew by, and I began to wonder if we were on the flight path to the local airport and began to fear that airplane fuel might be dumped onto my house or a plane’s engine might cut out on approach and come crashing into our house, my son though said, “We ride in that plane?” He said it with an excitement that can only be described as me skipping out the door at work before a 3 day weekend. Telling the Kid that, more than likely, the plane that he sees will not be the plane we ride on, you could tell he was crushed.
The Kid has also stuck onto one other word within my vacation statement, the word, vacation. Now, any moment I get up from the couch his eyes open wide and he asks, “Vacation?” I sadly have to look at him and say, “No, not right now son later.” At which moment I regret saying the word later because in 5 minutes he will be asking me the same question. When he wakes up in the morning, he will ask again.
With our, and my much-needed vacation, a full month out, I should have known better than to say something to the Kid, but I had to go and open my big mouth. You can ask Hot Mama, I tend to do that a lot and my foot ends up shutting me up only after I caused enough damage to take out the Hoover Dam.