Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What Are You Scared Of, Dad?

I jogged down the hall toward the twins' room at some small hour of the night; answering the cries of my daughter, Ramona.

"Daddy! Where are you? I'm scared!!"

I ran into the room and knelt down beside her bed. "I'm here, sweetie girl. What's making you scared?"

"I had a bad dream... about frogs... and scary monsters."

"You don't need to be scared, I'd take care of those frogs and monsters if they were real."

"I know you would, Dad." Ramona turned over on her side and grabbed my hands with both of her small hands. "You're not scared of anything are you, Dad?"

"I get scared sometimes."

Ramona lifted her head off of her pillow, "What are you scared of, Dad?"

I had to stop for a minute and smile at my little girl. A dad doesn't admit his "real" fears to his daughter at some small hour of the night. A dad needs to keep his fears to himself; exhibiting a calm confidence.

"I get scared of when Calvin takes the hair dryer apart and I have to plug it in for you."

Ramona nodded her understanding and then pressed her head back into her pillow and closed her eyes. A few minutes later the firm grip she had on my hand slackened and I knew she had fallen back asleep, but I didn't move.

Instead I leaned my forehead onto the edge of her bed, breathing slow and deep breaths. It had been a long night for me, too... lots of thoughts, not letting me rest.

Oh God if she only knew the fears of a Father...

I lifted my head and with my hand I slowly pushed the hair out of her face, then I stood up and pulled the covers over her arms which remained where they had been when she was holding my hands.

It's not until you're a dad that you realize the fears of being a dad. The self-doubt and the moments of fading faith. The dark nights staring up into the darkness of your room while you try to figure out a pressing issue that seems to have no real solution.

I stood there beside my daughter's bed and looked down at her sleeping... the darkness closing back in on me. Slowly, the darkness began replacing my confidence with self-doubt. The darkness told me that maybe I'm not good enough to do this... "You can't mess up, Dad... not even a little... these little guys are depending on you... this is all up to you...are you sure you can do this? What if something happ..."

"I love you, Dad."

I turned around and saw Calvin lying on the bed behind me. He was turned on his side looking at me.

I sat down oh his bed and he sat up and hugged my neck then laid back on his bed and smiled at me.

"I love you, too, Little Dude!"

"Did I tell you about the kid who peed his pants at school today?"

"Nope! That sounds like a great story, though." I slid off his bed and stretched out on the floor next to his bed, using one of his stuffed animals as a pillow. "Tell me about the kid who peed his pants at school today!"

I must have fallen back asleep during his story because I woke up and it was morning. I opened my eyes and the light was squeezing through the slats of the miniblinds.

"... All of my regret will wash away somehow,
but I cannot forget the way I feel right now..."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Just Another Day... In Paradise?

I like the way things are. As I've said before, things are comfortable. Easy?... Nope! Crazy Busy?... Hell Yes!! But, comfortable???... Absolutely!

I say this as I sit on the couch next to Ramona who sounds like a freight train as she snores through her cold germ inflicted nose. School started and that means germs started spreading again. I was wondering who would be catching something first.... Woo Hooo... Ramona wins the prize...  I can tell by her sick looking eyes that she is underwhelmed by the award.

Ramona actually woke me up about 5 minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off. That is, sort of, the definition of irritating, more so when I've spent most of the night up tossing and turning. But then I heard her breathing like a mini-darth vader and I saw her sick, watery looking eyes and I knew she wasn't feeling good.

If you didn't read back a few posts you don't know that I am a substitute Spanish Teacher at the High School and, due to the Spanish teacher's maternity leave I get to teach full time for the next two weeks. Today was no exception.

This is where having a checklist really helps, I had forseen the need to have someone available in the early morning if I should call. So, I divided the on-call schedule up between the four people who had agreed to help. After looking at my checklist and schedule I called my mom, who was the on-call babysitter for the day. She was ready in no time.

I can't tell you how good it feels to have the support. I guess I could manage without it, but it would be silly to try. Especially when there are people who WANT to help. It really means a lot!

I will admit it! I appreciate help. But not the kind of help I usually get. Women see me doing things sometimes and they think they need to step in and help me, for some reason. Like at the grocery store... YES! I do know how to pick the right kind of breadcrumbs and I do know where to find things. Or when I'm standing in line and Ramona tells me her pony tail fell out. I don't need you turning around and giving me the "Oh-you-poor-man look"... I Got This!!!

I went outside to work out while I waited for my mom to show up.

We've had rain for the past six days so when I saw that the sun was out I had to get out there and stand in it. I moved my heavy bag out of the barn and hung it on the hook hanging from the bar next to the big oak tree. It's always a pain-in-the-butt to move the heavy bag... because it's heavy, but it was worth it!

I had a lot of "crap" I had to "work out" this morning. And I needed my therapy time with the heavy bag. I even pulled out the new gloves I bought last year. I've been saving them a morning like this one. The way a new set of leather fighting gloves smells is kind of like smelling cinnamon rolls... comforting.

Why do I like to hit the heavy bag? Is it because it's violent? Nooooo! It's because of this...

I sqaured up in front of the heavy bag and took a deep breath in, closed my eyes and let my mind go back to all the awful that was last night. Then I opened my eyes and beat the heavy bag with a series of hard pounding double and triple combinations until my shoulders and triceps felt like they were burning off my torso.

Then, rather than sit down, I grabbed the chains on top of the bag and held on... listening to myself breathe... pressing my sweaty forehead into the cool leather of the heavy bag. I let my breathing slow and  I realized I still hadn't gotten rid of all of last night.

So I took another deep breath and with both gloves I pushed myself off of the heavy bag and I began to beat the heavy bag harder than the time before... no combinations this time. I hit the bag like I was trying to punch a hole right through it. I did this until the burning in my shoulders and arms was so intense I couldn't lift them for even one more jab.

Then I sat down on one knee and rested my arms by letting them hang down. I could feel the twitching and burning up an down my arms and shoulders and my lungs felt like they were going to explode in my chest.

God, I love how that moment feels! Just the right mix of pain, fatigue and relief from the "CRAP"  that just piles up sometimes. I feel like I'm "back to center" every time.

I went back inside and woke the kids up, put the cinnamon rolls on the table along with some eggs and grits. Then I jumped into the shower, got dressed and still beat the kids getting to the van. (Slow Pokes)

Now I get to teach some High School students how to say things in Spanish. Say what you want about the teens of today, I have, for the most, have been very impressed by the teenagers I'm teaching.

Like I said... Easy? Nope ... Crazy Busy?? Hell yeah! ... Comfortable? Oh yeah! Just needed to get back to center!