Can you fix it Daddy?- A guest post from a Dad’s perspective. Written by my husband.
Whether by choice, influence of society or just by the sheer fact that I am a handy fellow I am often posed with the question “Can you fix it Daddy?”
A simple question on the face of it. Glue this, bend that, reattach (insert random doll appendage here). In reality for a Dad it is a much deeper question. Being a Dad is more than just fixing toys. It means being caring, tough, loving, stern, thoughtful, funny, strong, all the time, and sometimes all at once. It means being a good role model in your thoughts and actions. A role model of how to love and treat your family and significant other. It means losing sleep and adding (or in my case losing) gray hairs when you realize you slipped up and didn’t have all the right answers. When you let your family feel pain or worry. When you failed to “fix it” whatever today’s “it” happened to be.
This is the daily struggle for a Dad. How to keep his family happy, healthy and provided for. How to balance demands from work, home and family, again all the time and sometimes all at once. You learn to be a master of multi-tasking, hoping that you’ve remembered everything only to realize that you forgot to grab bread and milk on the way home. You internally curse yourself and vow to try harder tomorrow.
A Dad’s work is never done. If you are like me and are a Dad to a special needs child the pain and struggle are always front and center. You quietly burn inside watching your child suffer relentless seizures. You feel you heart shatter when you watch their siblings cry and feel helpless. You feel like failure when you see sadness in your wife’s eyes. But these pains only strengthen your commitment to try harder, to stay strong, to love more. If we seem distant or quiet, we’re not. We’re thinking a thousand different things a thousand different ways. Ways to help, ways to love, ways to fix the troubles we face. When something needs fixing we want to be the one you turn to.
As a Dad to feel true joy you learn it must come from your family. It comes from seeing your children discover new talents. The school play, a band concert, or even a homemade volcano. It comes from watching them set and achieve their own goals. Joy comes from watching your spouse’s hobbies and talents take off. The light in your child’s eyes when you glued their favorite figurine. A family day at the beach filled with laughter and fun is the fuel that Dads run on. Every day you search for these moments. When you find them you grab onto them. Fiercely. Because you know there are some days that are just plain awful. You need to tap these memories to keep yourself moving and maintain a positive outlook for yourself and family.
We often get caught up in making things perfect. In reality when your child asks you to fix something the expectation is only that you are there to help. To lend a hand, an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on. It doesn’t need to be made whole, or perfectly like new. They just want to know that their problem is important to you and that you are there for them. Which of course, as a Dad you always will be. “Can you fix it Daddy?” I hope so sweetheart. I hope so.