This is a confession of sorts. Perhaps, this may make you look at what I write in a completely different way, but I think I need to get it off my chest.
We're now sort of midway through the son’s summer holidays and I am pleasantly surprised that neither of us have ended up hurting each other or in the hospital. Well, our egos are probably hurt a little, but then again, whose isn’t.
To the frequent readers of this blog, you may be familiar with the fact that I usually write about (my wife calls it complain) some of my son’s antics. While some of it is, well, mildly edited for humour, a lot of it is the truth. Unlike my wife, I do find him quite a handful. Of course, it also has to do with the fact that he is perhaps a completely different person with me than he is with my wife. But there is also an uglier version of this that has been bothering me for the past few months, perhaps even a year. And that is that I am probably a lot more awful at this parenting thing than I care to admit.
My wife and I had a discussion the other day. Something which sort of ended with some deeply philosophical statement from her.
"Did you really think this parenting thing was going to be a joy ride, Sid? Maybe you weren't ready."
Of course, the emotional side of mine started to rumble a little bit in protest. But for some reason, I did not reply. In the interest of being transparent, I must confess. My son and I had the mother of all meltdowns earlier. Actually, strike that. My son and I have the mother of all meltdowns every time we have a fight. And it’s worth pointing out that he has just turned 5; so if you are fairly religious, this might be a good time for you to say a little prayer for us for the teenage years. So, subsequently, my wife decided to drop this mother of all bombs (not to be confused with the MOAB that President Orangetoon dropped as an after-dinner entertainment on Syria) on me with that observation.
Now usually, I react quicker to such statements than most chemical reactions. So, I was quite shocked with myself when I actually remained quiet and just waited for what she had said to sink in. It took some time, but it eventually did. Now, I can’t give a yes or no answer for this, but I might rephrase it slightly.
I really can't answer if I knew the moment that I was ready to be a father. We'd always wanted to have children and if it wasn't possible biologically, we were always ready to adopt. But what I did not realise was this fact that been said before, and probably will continue to be told for many generations to come.
Parenting is extremely hard work. And some days, I really wonder if it is truly worth all this.
I am not a sexist. So the thought of having a kid and then expecting my wife to take care of him or her was never on my agenda. In my head, I had been ready to share the responsibilities. But yes, perhaps I did expect it to be easier that what it has been. Mostly because my mum used to gush about how awesome I was as a child and how adulthood spoilt me.
In fact, if I think about it, I may have been born an adult and then aged mentally in reverse. Sort of like Benjamin Button, except it is just my brain with this ‘curious case’. But what I probably underestimated was the enormity of this responsibility that we had undertaken. Wait, I had undertaken.
I understand that this confession is really not selling parenthood to anyone who may be considering having a child. And that is not my job. It’s a choice you must make, and all I am saying is that ‘expect the unexpected’.
I must also take responsibility for the fact that perhaps, some of the reasons for me finding ‘parenting’ quite difficult at times, is because of my behaviour - being constantly on the edge, procrastinating - the list could practically go on.
Having a child was a conscious decision. So, I will not (and can not) imagine the world without my kid. Just like I find it incredibly hard to imagine a time when I did not know my wife. That’s how deep these relationships sometimes become - sort of like the roots of a tree, slowly getting entangled with each other, supporting us through everything.
Over past few years, I have come to terms with a number of things about parenting. Things that I never even imagined that I would one day think - not even in the most far-fetched dreams of mine. And these feelings.
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Parenting straps you with feelings that send your heart on an emotional rollercoaster - from the peaks of anger to depths of limitless love
I have realised that it is absolutely normal to want to throw someone off a cliff but at the same time feel overwhelmingly hurt when the same person says they don’t want you. I’ve realised that sometimes you may find yourself wishing ‘What might have been’ to wishing you never have to even live a moment without this tiny little being who is, quite literally, your heart walking outside your body. And that you will constantly swing between hoping that he or she would just leave you alone for a moment to wanting nothing more than hearing them whisper sweet cute nothings into your ears
If I am honest, most of all, I have realised that it is normal to sometimes want to just climb into a cave and sit alone, especially when this tiny human being is pushing all the 'right' buttons to make you do 'wrong things'. But the true love comes from seeing it all through and being there. Because at the end of it all, the goofiest of smiles from them soothes your aching, overwhelmed soul better than anything else ever could.
You may be wondering why I'm telling you all this. Mostly because this post is both a confession and a commitment.
A confession of the fact that perhaps, I have been a more shittier father than I had ever planned to be and not as awesome as I sometimes make out to be.
And a commitment to my wife that I will not complain so much. And of course, to my son that I will keep striving to be a better parent, yell less, do more things with him and though there may be times when he sees the darker side of mine, I will always love him. Possibly more than anything or anyone else.