I suck at being a husband and a father
It’s only been recently that I realized I’m not a very good husband and father. Yes, I’m the muscle in the outfit building shit and killing spiders. Yes, in a house full of women I’m often the calming voice of reason, and yes, I would gladly sacrifice my own life to save any one of their lives.
However, emotionally, I’m distant. I don’t often know how to express my feelings. I don’t always know when they need to hear the words, “I’m proud of you” or “I love you.” I really only know how to show love the way I know how: earning money, cooking, cleaning, and chauffeuring them to hell’s half acre and beyond.
Inside I have Love. I don’t always Show it
Inwardly, I wonder if I’m doing enough to really let them know how much I love them or care. It’s not always easy to learn how to adequately express the feelings my loved ones need to hear when you were raised in a household void of daily praise and shown affection,
I’m sarcastic, blunt, and brutally honest, especially when it concerns family. I don’t sugarcoat things and have often talk openly with my girls about taboo topics like illness and death. I figure there’s no sense confusing them with half-truths. Sometimes, I wonder if this deep seated, in-grained attitude keeps me from being the doting dad I should be.
I don’t openly show affection much. I don’t know how. I feel uncomfortable.
Don’t get me wrong. As I said earlier I love my girls unconditionally. I’d die defending them and I worry about all four of them (wife included as one of MY girls) every minute of the day. When someone does them wrong, it effects me more than it does them. Unfortunately, they don’t always know because I hide it and want to teach them emotional strength.
My childhood home was filled with more yelling and screaming than laughter, something I desperately work to keep changed in my home now. My dad’s nicknames for me were boy and dumbass. He was quick to point out my mistakes and flaws. In the eighteen years I had with him, he told me he loved exactly four times. All of these I love yous came in the last months of his life, at the end of our monthly phone calls, while I was pretending to be a college student in Carbondale, IL.
I never really learned how to love from my mother, either. Mom was raised in an abusive home and caught polio when she was five. This seemed to make her be concerned with her well being before anyone else’s. She was quick to use us against my dad when they divorced. She never made us breakfast or saw us off to school once I was old enough to do it for both me and my sister.
Growing up in a Tavern
As I’ve grown older, I realize that while my dad was never openly or slightly affectionate he showed his love by supporting me through sports. There were times we’d have football games in driving rain storms and there’d be dad standing, with his hands stuffed deeply in his pants pockets, on the bleachers so he could see every play.
He expressed his feelings by having us around even if these were not places and events you’d normally involve children. My sister and I spent many weekend nights sitting with dad in his favorite tavern. I grew up around Old Style, bathroom humor, and sports bets.
I Show My Love
I fix my kids’ shit when it breaks. I make sure they know I’m here if they want to talk, although, girls and fathers right? I drive them all around hell’s half acre and will often share food or candy all while making a big show out of having to share it with them. I get pissed at myself when I have to tell them no when they want to do something or want some things. I want to give them everything but I want them to grow up being self-sufficient and thrifty in the process.
I show up for all the sporting events, girl scout functions, and have taken my girls to a few father daughter dances. I do know I have told them I love them more than my mom and dad ever did, but is it enough? Can I do more? Should I do more? Am I being to hard on myself and should just know that they know I love them, right?