First things first, I love being a parent. It creates some of the strongest emotions I have ever had to deal with. Everyone wants to talk about the great times, the highs, when the world is going great.
I’m not going to talk about those times.
I’m going to talk about the moment I felt the guiltiest I have ever felt in my life, and when I felt like I had failed my child.
This was two days ago, and it’s been eating me alive.
I’m not going to get into all the details, but the basic background is this, Bud got in trouble for something he shouldn’t have done. Now when I say he got in trouble, please keep in mind that I have certain strong beliefs and never harming a child is a huge one for me. My kids don’t get spanked, they don’t get their hands smacked, or whatever else. They get punishments such as groundings, going to bed early, no tv, phones taken away, etc.
So Bud had an incident the other night and had to go to bed early. Mind you it was only 20 minutes early, but that’s irrelevant.
Regardless of if our kids are in trouble or not one of us will tuck them in every night. So I got Bud ready and put him in bed.
And the whole time he was upset. Naturally.
When I finally got him all tucked in and had the blankets wrapped around I asked him if he was mad at me.
Some quick background on him. He is a very emotional child. Bud has SPD and he doesn’t always know how to deal with his emotions. When he gets really emotionally upset he will do this thing where he tries to talk without letting the tears come flowing out.
So he shook his head yes and fought back the tears.
And I told him I’m sorry and told him I loved him.
And he tried his hardest to fight back the years but a few snuck through and he told me he loved me too.
I turned my head, got up, turned his fan on, shut off the light, and walked out the door.
And my heart shattered.
I felt guilty for having to punish him in the first place. This kid has a way of pulling at your heart strings, and although he can be a handful at times, most days he is one of the sweetest kids ever.
And the failure set in when I realized that he felt like he couldn’t share his emotions with me. That he had to fight back the tears. That even though he was in trouble he was trying to be strong and not vulnerable.
Have I failed my children in the fact that they can’t be open with me? That they feel like they have to meet a certain standard around dad?
It’s weighed on me. Heavily.
Even though he assures me he is no longer mad at me and doesn’t even remember, I have this nagging feeling in the back of my head that my son is going to remember that moment. And he’s going to resent me for it.
I can’t be that parent.
I need to be there for them.
I can be better.
I WILL be better.
I HAVE to be.