Readers who know me and read my last post asked if I was maybe just absolutely lying to them. Or maybe distorting the truth into something that operates exactly like a lie but looks prettier. It seems they (really, like two people) felt that I came off as a bit too calm when confronted with the reality of a demolished floor. Apparently, I was supposed to lean on my broom and succumb to despair before crumbling to the floor like an unstrung marionette and scrubbing the floor with tears and jerking sobs.
Well what good would that do?
So for the other readers who don’t know me (probably less than two people), let me take this opportunity to tell you what I told them.
First of all: no, I wasn’t lying. I did accept the trashed floor and miss my kids and write that post with those thoughts and emotions swirling in my brain. I was calm. It was easy to be calm—the house was empty. I didn’t have to run into the next room because someone wanted food or the iPad or a sibling to stop pummeling. My thinking wasn’t disrupted. I wasn’t pulled into a fresh emergency. It was a calm moment and . . .
Those calm moments need to be captured and documented and burned into our awareness so that when the not so calm moments happen, we can remember our thinking, our priorities. That’s why I ran into the other room and put down the first few sentences that became that post. Because it’s easy to let them fade. Time has a corrosive effect. Those bright moments dim.
You hear all the time that kids don’t come with instruction manuals. And there are thousands of books on parenting, from every possible contradictory point of view. But no family has the exact same combinations of personalities. I think it’s our job to write the ones for our own family. We write them as we go along, as we try to make the world a better place for our growing ones, as we try to make ourselves better. There’s a lot that can get lost in all of that. We lose sight of ourselves. We become reactionary. We only clean the messes and complain.
I’m a working dad. This is one way I’m working on it. I’m working it out here on this blog.I’m holding myself accountable by putting my thoughts out there for everyone to see, making it a little harder to go back on my promise to stay centered. I’m working on it every day. I’m catching myself, I’m calming myself. I’m reminding myself that it’s much better to step on a floor, than a child’s spirit.
So I am upset that the floor is trashed and the list of things we need to repair grows longer every day. But for that rare moment I was able to sit and reflect on the floor—this artifact of a small tribe, the carvings and markings that they left to declare that this is their turf. This is a tribe in motion and soon they will move on and the floor will be fixed and all I’ll have are the memories of their adventures. Might as well make them good ones.