Thursday, January 6, 2011

Good on the Bad Days

Ever have one of those days where things just don't go your way? One of those days that just leaves you feeling kind of sour? Well, I had one of those days today.

The day actually started out pretty good. I sent the lady out the door with a few extra kisses. A nice big check showed up in my account this morning. Sonny boy and I were on schedule getting to the bus, which isn't always the case. I was feeling pretty good. With my extra couple dollars, I figured I'd open all the past due bills and spread the love. (There's mistake #1) Turns out the bills were just enough to shoot that big check to right to h.e.double hockey sticks. So now I'm just about back to broke. But, the bills are paid, so I'm still doing okay. Then I get a call from some publisher who wants to argue with me about my choice of publisher, simply because I didn't choose him. He goes on to tell me how I'll never get anywhere with this route and how if I'd only....... And so now I'm kinda mad. But, I've got a few bucks in my pocket and no food in the house, so its time for a trip to the store. While in the check out line I get one of those "Daddy, can you.." phone calls. Turns out my teenage daughter has locked herself out of her car at the gas station and needs my assistance. I of course get there when I can. Because I don't have one of those laser beam things they use on Star Trek, I apparently took too long to save her and got treated to a healthy dose of teenage girl attitude. Somehow I didn't realize that her locking her keys in her car was my fault. (There's mistake #2) Okay now I'm hot.

In my attempt to brighten my evening, I decided to go buy my lady friend a little something. Making someone else smile always seems to soothe the soul. I head to the jewelry store. (Mistake #3) It's been a while since I've had a girl to buy anything for, so I totally forgot what it's like being the broke guy in the jewelry store. They don't exactly treat you like royalty when you say, "I wanna buy something, but here's my budget."

So I'm winding down my night, angry, a bit frustrated, and all around tired. My son asks for some juice, which he always does just before bed. Normally he drinks it in the kitchen, because he's not permitted to drink juice in the living room. But tonight I'm so tired I don't bother to remind him of this rule. (Yup, mistake #4) Just as I'm checking emails and tending to loose ends, I here "Daddy, I kinda got some juice on my pajamas." Of course I knew what that meant. Some juice on the pajamas, the rest on the couch. I tried to contain my anger. I really did. I didn't yell. I didn't punish. I just cleaned him up and sent him to bed. But I guess the look I gave him was just a hair meaner than I meant it to be. When I got upstairs to read him his bedtime story, I found a pouting and sad little boy. "Daddy, I'm sorry for what I did downstairs. I'm really sorry." Sniffle, sniffle.

In that very second, I remembered that kids don't understand parents having a bad day. To them, everyday and every minute is about them. I was frustrated about my day. All he knew was that I was frustrated. He doesn't care that I'm broke. He doesn't know that the publisher, the jewelry store lady, and everyone in between got on my nerves today. All he knows is that I snapped at him for some juice. To him, I was being mean. To him, I was a little off. But dad's don't get to take the day off. There is no vacation from this job. I don't get to have a bad day.

I gave him a hug. I told him I was never mad at him. We read our story. All was well again. Luckily for me, I've got some great kids. That makes it a little easier. Still, its hard work being a good dad on a bad day.

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