I was short with Gavin this morning.
I was thinking of what I needed to
accomplish throughout the day
instead of his best interest.
When I realized this, I turned
toward Gavin and said, “Gavin,
are you upset with me?”
Gavin nodded his head, yes.
I then asked, “Are you mad at me?”
He shook his head, yes.
I told him I understood why.
Then I said I was going to
calm down, talk more sweetly,
and that I was sorry.
I asked if he’d like to sit on
the couch with me for a few minutes.
He likes to sit next to me and put
his head on my shoulder while I drink
coffee. It’s the first thing we do every morning.
I realized I needed to reset the morning,
sideline what I needed, and focus on Gavin.
I believe the best way to help improve
our lives is to recognize when it’s time to
look in the mirror and adjust.
Some of you may know that for the first three years of Gavin’s life, I was his primary care giver. Never have I hit Gavin. I don’t believe in hitting as a form of discipline. I couldn’t imagine inflicting that mental and physical distress on a child.
Now, he has fun, three days a week at daycare and is enrolled for Pre-K. However! Every morning I keep him 🙂 I play with him, I read to him and I make his breakfast. I ask him, “Gavin, what would you like for breakfast?” Lately his reply has been, “I’d like an english-muffin with peanut butter and chocolate, big-big strawberries, raspberries, apple juice, and a water. Paleaseeeee.” I drink coffee while preparing his breakfast and watch as my little Gavin plays with his dinosaurs or sea creatures. Or, a puzzle. Or anything. I love spending this time with him. When I was his age, I had no father. I made it very clear to myself and anyone listening that I was determined to be there for Gavin. Always. To be his primary care giver for the first three years of his life was a blessing.
And now, when I pick him up from daycare (we call it school because it’s much like a school) he smiles SOO big and yells, “That’s my Dad!” And man…..man does that feel good. It’s simple. I’m here to be a loving, supportive, husband and father. Writing is a bonus that I am ragingly thankful for.
Often I think of children who have been tortured, abused, and manipulated. I was that child. I broke the cycle. We all can break the cycle, if we are aware and want to. Mental illness is a subject I take very seriously. I believe that we, as humanity, have barely begun to truly understand how deep, or to understand how many levels concerning mental illness there are. I believe there are forms of mental illness that have evolved our human race. I also believe there are forms that are evil. I think it’s important for the broken children who have been abused to understand they are not the evil ones.
I can’t feel my feet.
They’ve become numb
do to my legs being stretched
straight forward and propped on
our coffee table. I tried to put
them down to regain feeling,
but when I attempted to do so
Gavin said, “Feet back up, please.”
So back up they went and there they stayed.
The days of Gavin sitting on my lap, on a cold New England morning with a blanket draped over us, are numbered.
“Come on bud, it’s time for your nap.”
I trudged toward the stairway, he followed.
I kicked my L.L. Bean slippers off .
“Take your slippers off. You don’t need them.”
Gavin took his slippers off and placed them in mine. Left in left. Right in right. The baseball watched it happen.
After I rocked Gavin to sleep I walked back down the stairs. I felt as though I was dreaming. I have a son who wanted his slippers inside my own who had just fallen asleep on my chest listening to my heartbeat after I had sung him to sleep.
The baseball was still there. My memories were too. Coaching baseball saved my life. And now I have another life far more important than mine to care for. I’m not going anywhere and I can’t wait for tomorrow and the next day. And the day after that.
I just bit my tongue
hard while sneezing
In the background I hear
“There goes Daddy!”
I was washing bottles
Now I have blood filling
my mouth with soap suds
dripping from my hands
I can feel another coming
I smile as it loads
I tell Gavin I have much to show him. I pick him up and tell him I’ll show him the world. I walk him out of his room and down the hallway into the kitchen, then the living room. I open the sliding glass door. I step onto the deck. I tell Gavin, ‘This is the beginning of the entire world.’
He’s bright and happy. No more fever and all is well.