The Calm After the Storm

August 30, 2021

My day was, as most are, stuffed to the gills with the administrivia I’d rather not do but must as a government employee. Top of mind as the sun rose was an email I needed to compose outlining the merits of a plan I’d developed to an arbiter of my agency’s future.

As the son rose, it was evident that our priorities were not aligned. Some anxiety had developed overnight regarding the mending of a relationship that had deteriorated the summer prior. School was not in the day’s forecast. Cascading schedule failure was on the horizon.

Focused as I was on the tasks I wanted not to do, I became agitated by the the flurry of his emotions that were beyond my control. Tears were shed amidst fighting, though I’ve never before been mad at the weather. My reflex response as a father, when dealing with my only son, whom I adore, was that of my mother and my stepfather. Stern rebuke. A line in the sand. Leaning headlong into the gale.

This is not who I want to be.

Begrudgingly I took the morning off to spend time with the person I adore most in the world until Grammy could arrive to reinforce the bulwark I had established to protect my schedule.

As frenetic as the storm of his emotions was, my son was unusually sedate this morning. He wanted to snuggle on the couch, ensconced from the anxiety pre-school presented. In the 20 minutes we shared, I was totally present for a change. It struck me precisely how much I love this boy.

I am present as frequently as I am able and in the sense that I am physically there to parent my son when my wife needs me to be, or I’m not working. Normally we’re flitting about – building lego contraptions, fishing, or managing some form of sandbox construction site. But we rarely languish in the type of glorious calm that followed in the wake of this morning’s tempest.

I sat and stared deeply into his beautiful blue eyes, between unimaginably long eyelashes. I reflected on who this person is and is becoming. Why I was sitting there. And how totally convenient this minor inconvenience turned out to be.

A bad day with my son beats a good day in the office by all measures.

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