(This post was from last week, but there were technical difficulties with WordPress.)

There are days when the toll of fatherhood drills the very core of a man.  That toll wanted to be paid in full this morning.  Not in money, but in pounds of sanity.  (It’s happened to me before.  But, I’ve always blacked out from mental anguish only to later wake up remembering nothing at all.)  As I sat there in the living room staring at my progeny, I could only wonder what was sticking to my neck, how much alcohol could ease me through to Friday, and why I could translate Curious George’s cackles into full sentences.

Then, I was snapped back into the present with Duncan licking baby yogurt off my foot.  I just couldn’t bring the right attitude to the day.  I was in a bad mood and needed to zone out on the couch for a few uninterrupted hours.  Is that wrong?  Could I just toss Worm into his crib, close the door and let him amuse himself all afternoon?  Was I shirking my responsibility as a parent?  Should I be ashamed for not wanting to clean poop, wipe up food, or chase Worm around ad nauseum today?  If life had a pause feature, the second button press wouldn’t come until dinner time.

I stared off into space as Worm played with his food.  My brain was checking out.  I didn’t want to deal with the chores and baby that lay in front of me.  I couldn’t will myself to be engaging, funny or entertaining.  On the outside, I wasn’t more than a body taking up space.  On the inside, I was somewhere else entirely.  My guilty conscience rattled between my ears that “A good dad wouldn’t be so disconnected.  You should make an effort to ‘be’ with the Worm.  He needs you.  It’s your job.  Selfish asshole.”

A good dad.  I sure as hell didn’t feel like one and my thoughts concurred.  Even my actions spoke loud and clear that I was in no mood to be a dad today.   I didn’t want to do dad stuff.  I didn’t want to play with toy cars, or dig in the sand lot, or cut hot dogs into bite size pieces.  I was worn out, beat down, and drained.  I needed to recharge.

Then as if he heard me, Worm stopped what he was doing and looked up at me with the sweetest look only your child could give.  He patted me on the elbow and smiled as if to say “It’s alright, dad.  I think you’re doing a great job and I love you.”

Then he rest his head on my arm and gave me his little Worm hug.

I shed a couple tears realizing the Worm was there for me as much as I was there for him.

There are as many pillars as there are people in a family.  And when the roof starts to shake and one pillar weakens, the strength of the other pillars are plain to see.  We’re all holding this house together, no one more than the next.  (It’s a good reason to have plenty of kids…)  Thanks for your love and support Worm!

Gavin – 15; Dad – 7 (Bring me those hot dogs.  I’m ready to julienne the hell out of them for you again, Worm!)

We Pick Each Other Up…