Fatherhood, Love and Sleeplessness

Bottom Line Up Front: Fathers are servants. When you serve, and exhaust yourself serving, you will weary and make mistakes. Forgive yourself, forgive everyone else every single day and never quit.

Love, Fatherhood and Sleeplessness

At 1:00 this morning my two-year-old was struggling to control his emotions as I scolded him.

He was trying so hard and sobbing.

Our 3-month-old baby was up and hungry.

My wife was exhausted.

I had had to pick up our teenage son from his job at 10:20 last night.

I hit the rack around 11 and had to be up and functioning for a long day at 5.

Our two-year-old had awakened.

He wanted a bottle of warm apple juice.

It was his routine.

He wanted it to go back to sleep.

He was crying out to me but I was not in the mood to help him. I was short of sleep.

My wife intervened. She said softly she would soothe him.

But children respond differently to their mothers than to their fathers. Our son knows how to get his way and my wife does not use force as effectively as I do.

He knows when I come in he won’t get as many options.

He was exhausted.

I was exhausted.

He was upset.

I needed to be calm.

I entered his room and as soon as he saw me in the half-light he began to cry because he knew he would not get his way.

I put my hands on him and said, “Stop that noise. You’ll wake up the whole house. Your brothers and sisters are sleeping.”

He sobbed and sobbed and struggled to control his crying.

My two year old son was struggling to control his crying because I told him to.

Something gives way.

It was at that moment that something in me gave way.

I could not be the father that forced a two-year-old to stop crying.

Sometimes it is necessary and sometimes it should be done, but this was not one of those times and I needed to recognize it.

I said, “Hey bud, hey bud, stand up here and let me hold you.”

He stood in his crib and I, standing at its side, wrapped him in my arms.

I smelled his hair and felt his back. I lifted him to me and asked if he would like to sleep on the floor in our room.

“Yes. Yes.” He said and he was calming as we spoke.

What contrasts are boys made of.

I put him down and he padded off to our bedroom in his footie pajamas covered with polar bears.

I picked up his pillow covered with trucks, his blanket covered with trucks and his favorite stuffed animal… a rabbit holding a blanket.

What contrasts are boys… are we all… made of.

I pulled the mattress out of his crib and carried it in to our bedroom and put it at the foot of the bed. He was waiting for me in the dark.

I set him up and tucked him in. Safe. Sound. Warm. Clean.

Loved and happy and fragile and perfect.

I knelt down to breathe in the smell of his hair and kiss him on his soft ear. I sat down on the floor and cherished him.

At two he had been struggling to do precisely as I asked. And succeeding. He was succeeding at ceasing his crying when I asked that he do so in a dark room in the middle of a cold winter night.

It occurred to me as I passed him on my way down to the kitchen—for now my mind is racing and full of my own responsibilities to this family—when we love we often exhaust ourselves in our loving. When we work we often exhaust ourselves in our working. But sometimes there is no escaping the fact that if you choose to live for others you run out of what you need.

Sleep, money, time, patience, skills, answers.

When that happens you have to accept that you have nothing else to give.

Do all you can and love those you love. Hang on. Forgive yourself. Keep going.

Call to action: First, right now make the decision to forgive everyone who has ever wronged you. It’s as simple as saying it silently in your head—“I forgive all who have ever wronged me.” It’s an act of the will. If I have written this before, it bears repeating. Second, make a list of who you should reconcile with and pick up the phone to begin that difficult process.

Post Source Here: Fatherhood, Love and Sleeplessness

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