There comes a point when we as parents realize that we all need to do something to become a better parent. I can not remember when it hit me but without knowing it, my son has made me a better parent.
There are so many times that W our oldest will bug me to no end. As soon as we get home from the day, a day that I have been working all day, all he will want to do is play. He will ask me to build something with him. He will ask me if we can wrestle or play a game. When at the time all I want to do is just sit down and decompress from an already stressful day.
That decompression has been key to my life as a parent. If I didn’t have it, I could not be the dad he sees on a daily basis. A dad who wants to play with him and wants to spend time with both him and his brother.
There was a time when it wasn’t that way. Time in which I was buried in my cell phone and had little energy to run around with a toddler who would show no signs of slowing down. While to the reader of the blog, you wouldn’t have seen it. You might have seen some posts that were alluding to the fact that I needed to do something, what you didn’t see was that I wasn’t actually trying to do those things. I wanted to continue to be that self-serving guy who would be so focused on a college basketball game that I couldn’t take two minutes to have a conversation with W. I saw this going on and looking back I hate that I was that way.
My wife might say that I am being too hard on myself and that I have always been a good parent. She will agree with me though that there were times when I was too concerned with what was going on in current events.
I can’t tell you when it clicked in me that I needed to start thinking more about my child (this was pre-baby J). There was a moment though that it all hit me. Maybe it was the 100th time that W asked me to play catch with him, and I turned him down. It might have been that time that I was too lazy to get down on the floor with him and build something with his Legos. But it hit me that I needed to be a better parent.
But W was persistent. He never gave up on me. He saw the parent that I wanted to be even if I couldn’t see it myself at times. Yes, there were times that I did see the way I was being. Then there were times that it didn’t register.
It is still like that most of the time. But there is one thing that W, has taught me that has made me a better parent.
Sure, I might not show it all the time. My Son might not see he has taught me that lesson when I am raising my voice to him to put on his shoes for the 15th time or else I’m leaving him home… alone. (yes, I know I am a bad parent for even giving my son the thought that I would leave him home alone)
He knew that I wanted to be that dad who would play catch with him at the drop of a hat. Even though there were times that I turned him down, he kept asking because he knew it would hit me that I should play catch with my son.
There are times that I am still quick to raise my voice to him when I lose my patience, but his persistence in unknowingly teaching me patience has led to my voice raising less frequently. It has led to quicker apologies when I do raise my voice to him.
In teaching my son the need to apologize for what he has done wrong, it has taught me to apologize as well. I am now able to recognize when I have done something wrong or hurt him that I now quickly say, “I’m sorry” in the hopes that he realizes that I’m still relatively new to this whole parenting thing. More often than not, I can have him laughing within two minutes and all is forgotten. Or so I hope.
More importantly, my son teaching me patience has led to more teachable moments from dad to son. The moment spent in the backyard playing catch or hitting baseballs, teaching him how to play the game better. It has brought more moments like building a 1300 piece Millennium Falcon Lego set that, I would quickly swoop in and build it all myself, but instead, I helped him make it.
I haven’t been the best of parents, and I probably won’t be winning any Parent of Year awards anytime soon. My patience still runs thin with my son from time to time. But my son has brought out the best parent that is within me, and that makes me a better parent.