We Aren’t Perfect

m52_-_be-patient-god-isnt-finished-with-me-yet__13752_zoomI prefer peace, over conflict. Most times, I will just overlook some of the day to day annoyances in the interest of keeping the peace. Exercising the whole “pick your battles” concept. It works, most of the time. But like anything else, those things you overlook in the interest of peace, build up and may ultimately start a battle.

It’s been a good day overall. I had a late breakfast with the kids while discussing what needed to be put on the shopping list. My son and I went to the store while my daughter stayed home to get some chores and homework done. We had a light snack around two o’clock and I started making dinner around 4/4:30. In between, we watched movies. Talked on the phone. Played games on our phones (I know, I know). And once dinner was ready, we all piled into the living room to watch our favorite television show while we ate. Not a completely un-typical Saturday for us.

Then, like a plane dropping on you from above, everything just blew up. We took a break from the television, and all at once, all those annoyances I chose to overlook, pilling up on top of each other, ignited. This wasn’t done. That wasn’t done. Something I had asked to get done, still wasn’t done. Leftovers were sitting on the stove. So much stuff that needed to be done, and the kids had their noses buried in their phones. Yeah, safe to say it wasn’t pretty.

To make things worse, I have teenagers. One of whom thinks she’s an adult and can just say what she thinks, regardless of how it comes out. So, as you can imagine, I got bombarded with excuses and opinions. Many of which came out rude and disrespectful. Which, of course, put me on the defensive making comments like “who do you think you are?” And “don’t you talk to me in that tone of voice!” I’ll stop there, but it was a steady spiral down a very well-known path. Which never leads to a fun destination.

At this moment, one of the kids is getting a shower. The other is hiding. And I’m here on the couch wondering how this great day ended up like this.

It’s nobody’s fault of course. And everybody’s fault, all at the same time. Yes, the kids could have gotten off their phones and helped out with the household chores. But I didn’t have to explode the way I did either. The kids could have spoken with a little more respect. But let’s be real. They’re teenagers and they’re testing their boundaries. Becoming young adults, and learning how to communicate. They’re going to say the wrong things or use the wrong tone as they navigate these tricky waters. Truth be told, I’m still learning as well.

We aren’t perfect. We fight and get on each other’s nerves. Sometimes more often, than not. We choose what we want to do over what we should do. We put things off that should get done sooner. We make bad choices and then make excuses for why we made them. Then go our separate ways in an effort to de-escalate our emotions. Sigh. I really don’t like it when this happens.

As I tucked them each into bed for the night, I paused before kissing their foreheads to apologize for my explosion. While my points were still valid, my approach could have been handled differently. We smile, each offering comments about our part in the argument and what we could have done differently. I tell them I love them as I kiss them goodnight and turn out the light. As I leave their rooms I hear “I love you daddy. See you in the morning.” I smile and say “I love you too, goodnight.”

We aren’t perfect. Nor do we try to be. I mean, lets be real. How fun would life be if we were? I look back on these times in my own childhood and usually laugh about them. So, my guess is, the kids and I will do the same thing. Many years from now. Hopefully by then, we’ll all have learned to communicate a little bit better.

Truth be told, we’re more imperfect than perfect. We have good days and we have bad days. We argue. We say things we shouldn’t. Do things we shouldn’t. And don’t do things we should. We are completely, imperfect.

“Please be patient, God isn’t finished with me – us,  yet.”

 

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Bragging

A&A 6Yeah. I know. We’re not supposed to brag. It’s not “nice.” Doesn’t look good on us. Makes us sound, pretentious. But, I feel like there are times when it’s warranted. Like now.

You’ve heard me say it before, and I’m going to say it again. I’ll continue to say it until it stops being true. Don’t get your hopes up, it’ll never stop being true. My kids, are awesome! It’s a fact! There’s no denying it. They’re just, awesome! I think they get it from their Mom. Maybe.

It’s not often that I get excited about gifts. “Receiving Gifts” is not my love language. They just aren’t a big deal for me. So, when my kids told me that they were going to make my Christmas gift this year, I just smiled and said “okay.” In all honesty, I was less than excited. In my mind, I was rolling my eyes. At least, I hope it was in my mind.

img_9500As the weeks leading up to Christmas passed, I watched as the kids got more and more excited. This started to make me more excited. They made multiple trips to multiple different stores. They did most of their work, while I was at work. They commandeered the balcony and posted hand written notes on doors and windows saying “Off Limits.” The week before Christmas, I was given strict instructions to let them know when I was on my way home so that they had ample time to put everything away before I got there.

Christmas Day finally arrived and as usual, the kids were beyond excited. Initially, that excitement was directed toward their own presents. As usual, I had my own fun. The kids always pick out the wrapping paper they want their gifts wrapped in. This eliminates the need for tags. Of course, when I wrap one’s presents in another’s wrapping paper, there’s bound to be a little excitement.

img_9482The time came for them to give me the present they had been working on for weeks. Except, they didn’t give it to me, initially. They had a couple of other gifts they had bought for me, that I opened. After “all” of my gifts were opened, they informed me that there was a clue to my last gift located between two specific movies located on the shelf in the living room. I located the movies and found the “clue” that was waiting for me: a handwritten card.

I pulled the card out and began to read. It was all I could do to keep from tearing up. The card read:

img_9483“For our dad who makes us feel blessed every day! You always say that you are the one who is blessed. But having you as a dad is the best gift God could ever give us. We can’t imagine how life is like for you, being a single dad with two crazy kids. But you still lead us to God, you support us in anything we want to do, and you never fail to put a smile on our faces. We want to thank you for being the best dad ever and for loving us with everything you have. We really are the ones who are blessed. Here is something to remind you of the blessings we feel everyday because of our loving God. We also want you to remember with this present that we love you so much and no matter where life takes us, we will always be your Kiddo and Bubba. We love you with everything we have and we are blessed to have you as our dad! Merry Christmas Daddy!”

As I choked out those last few sentences, the kids jumped up and ran to their rooms to get the present they made for me. img_9425-1Needless to say, I was speechless. It was clear that they had put a lot of thought, time and effort into it. I couldn’t help but smile. Yeah, I have AWESOME KIDS! I just don’t know how else to say it. I am truly blessed to be their Dad.

Okay. I’m sure everyone has similar feelings and stories. So here is your opportunity to brag. I give you my permission. Tell me how awesome your kids are! Brag a little. Or a lot! Let it out! Now’s your chance. And…GO!