That One Moment… When It All Fell Apart

I am one of those dads who likes to think that he has it all put together. I have an incredible wife, two amazing boys, and our lives seem almost the picture of the American dream except for the white picket fence in front of our yard. Sure, there are a few exceptions to our American dream being middle class, living nearly paycheck to paycheck unable to put much back into our savings account.

There are also the mornings like last Thursday, that test our fortitude as parents, a couple, and our American dream. There is no one else to blame for the situation that I put our family in because it was one of those moments that normally I would have under control.

To start a bit of background. The night before the “incident,” I was not feeling good. Apparently the older you get the more prone you are to getting sick. So I retired myself to the basement so that no one else would end up getting what I had, although at that point I had been thrown up on by a 9-month-old, so that is more than likely how I ended being sick.

The next morning I woke up, feeling somewhat better than I had the night before. I still had the aches and pains I was experiencing but not the extent that I had been the night prior. I check out my sleep tracker to find out that I had slept terribly. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise knowing how uncomfortable I was all night from experiencing aches and pains.

A hot shower did not help and decided that I could hold off shaving for another day. Thinking that my scruffy might just earn some sympathy points from my colleagues (it didn’t). The chain of events that followed have me regretting the fact that I did not shave.

I walk downstairs baby in tow, who was another reason why I had not slept well. I sit him down in the kitchen as I prepare my morning coffee. Our oldest comes down asking for his usual morning cereal for breakfast. But, another strange question, “Hey dad, did my teacher tell you that we were supposed to wear jammies to school today?”

“Well, I’m not sure, I don’t recall seeing an email about it. Let me check.” I say as I pull my phone out. Not any sooner had I opened my email and searching for emails from his teacher, had our youngest crawl over to our cookbooks and one-by-one start pulling them off the shelf. It should not have been a big deal with the exception that the candy bowl was sitting on top of one of them.

Searching through my email, the next thing I hear is the sound of breaking glass. Never the sound you want to hear when you have a toddler in the house… let alone never a sound you want to hear in the first place. I look up from my phone to see the candy bowl shattered next to our 9-month-old.

All Fell Apart - The Rookie Dad

“GOD DAMN IT!” I yell out. Clearly, it was out of frustration. I wasn’t feeling good, and I was just trying to keep our morning somewhat reasonable.

I run to pick up the baby and take him into the living room so that I can have a chance to clean up the mess. Our oldest starts to cry, because well that is what a 6-year-old does when you break his candy dish. He runs upstairs to tell mom what happened and I bend down to pick up the broken bowl.

And even though I might not have been thinking straight because of the aches and pains I was experiencing, I remember a small detail about our living room… there are stairs… going down! And I had just put our crawling baby who does nothing but explore in there, and I have no one watching him at the moment.

Before I could pick up a piece of the bowl, I look up from behind the couch in our living room that was blocking my view.

“SHIT! GOD DAMN IT! SOMEONE WATCH THE BABY!” I yell out as the baby is 6 inches from the stairs going into the basement at that point. I run, as fast as my achy body would go to swoop in and save the baby from falling and causing his own aches and pains and increasing mine as I try to calm a baby.

It was at that moment that my wife comes running down asking what happened. She sees the broken candy bowl, and I explain that our youngest was close to falling down the stairs. She looked at me very calmly and said that I overreacted and after giving it some time, I realized that she was right

This could have all been avoided, except the breaking of the candy bowl. I’ve been dragging my feet to get a new TV stand that would allow us to get a baby gate that would fit going down stairs. I realize that this is all my fault and that I fell apart in a moment that I should have risen to the occasion.

But that is parenting. There are times when you are on top of your game savoring every minute, and you feel like nothing can stop you from being an incredible parent who has everything under control. Then there are times when everything falls apart. When you react to a situation in a way that usually you wouldn’t react.

What matters is that those moments are few and far between your good moments as a parent. And that you spend the following evening, lying on the couch with your kid watching baseball.

The Rookie Dad

The Rookie Dad is father of 2, husband, TV Producer, runner, and co-founder of Dads Round Table and a contributor to Traveling Dad and Good Men Project.

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