Fatherhood Friday – Being Everything

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The holidays are always hard on me. I wasn’t the happiest or sunniest child, and that has carried over to adulthood. It always felt as if they snuck up and hit me in the back of the head, but then didn’t run away but stayed to continue doing it until February or March. There is some SAD to it, mixed with my own general depression/anxiety/obsessive-compulsive traits. Having kids has made it a lot better and I enjoy our Christmases together. As a parent, one of my biggest struggles has been to be upbeat and excited about the holidays throughout the year. Each year, I persevere, yet feel as if I leave too much for my wife to do. Sometimes it’s the way duties are separated in the household, each having mostly consistent roles and chores to be done. But nothing is ever written in stone.

Sadie is a SAHM, so most of the household duties fall to her; like dishes, laundry, cleaning, & cooking. I will occasionally do some of those, but never cooking(I’m a horrible cook). I usually take care of maintenance on the house & cars, do yard work, and of course, go to work daily to support all of us.

But when it comes to administering to the kids needs, physically and emotionally, both of us handle it together. Sadie is a bit more of a nurturer than I, but there are certain situations that I am better suited to address. And as for Sadie and myself, we have mostly balanced each other out well over the years. When I am struggling, she is able to keep from bottoming out. And when she is stressed past the limit, I am able to help her back to even ground.

What is hard about this year, and we try not to focus on the negative, is that our kids are having struggles with things we can’t help them with. We’re both still shell-shocked about Brandon’s preliminary diagnosis of CF, the reality is settling on us slowly, heavily. It was just so out of the blue, we thought to have him tested, but knew that nothing would come of it. I blame myself, but most parents do when something goes wrong for their kids. I know Sadie blames herself too, just a natural reaction. He is still getting high grades, wants to continue sports in the spring, and loves Boy Scout campouts. We think he is happy, or at least as happy as a twelve year old can express.

Angel having complications with her CF is not unexpected, but still is unsettling. How her function can go up and down so fast is scary, and makes us wonder if we’re not watching her close enough. Now she may have strep, although I don’t know the full ramifications of this yet. She gives us no symptoms or complaints until she is already well into sickness. However, she still has the brightest smiles and chatters about everything constantly. She can be read like an open book, but a book that you enjoy so much, you never want to put it down.

Riley is,…..well….we love Riley. As Sadie has posted, she has advanced and regressed at the same time. Riley is a whirlwind at home; usually blond hair flying behind her, fighting with and screaming at her sister, and talking so fast you can’t make anything out. In school, the reports are all saying that she is remaining on task better and learning LOTS of things. Infrequently at home, Riley withdraws into herself and just seems to vacate her body. This is usually when she is peaceful at home(not often). But she is slowly coming around to talking with us(REAL CONVERSATION MATERIAL). And she can be so loving sometimes, that her issues fade into the background.

I’m not saying that we have any more to deal with than any other parent. I’m just saying it’s tough, tough to be everything all the time. I have more respect now for my parents than I ever did before. Being a parent of children of special needs children is a hard job, but I have a feeling it won’t be the hardest thing I’ll ever do. That will be when they grow up and leave their mother and me.

I guess all I am really saying is love your kids. Love their strengths. Love their weaknesses. Love them as much as you can. Special needs or not, we are the lucky ones. Our children are alive and fighting, and we are in there fighting even harder along with them.

Enjoy your holidays!

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