Cov-dad-19 Thoughts

 

“I don’t know, kiddo. I just don’t know.”
The words slip out of my mouth.
I am tucking Annie into bed.
I’m exhausted.
We all are.
It’s not a complaint. It’s a fact. I’m tired. Just tired.
Extra dad fortitude was required to get out of my bed and to re-tuck her into hers.
She hasn’t asked me anything in particular.
The words just come out.
Unrelated to anything.
“I don’t know, kiddo. I just don’t know.”
No one likes uncertainty. How will the world look when this is over?
What will our “new-normal” be?
When will this be over?
I want to be the husband, the dad, the rabbi who has answers.
The answers.
But, I don’t.
I want to be assured.
But that’s not me.
I also don’t want to be the guy who loses his temper when a carelessly handled egg cracks open on the floor.
But I’m me.
Human.
And, I get frustrated.
This is a time to accept myself as I am, the best I can.
To be kind to myself.
Because, well, aren’t I enough as I am?
Aren’t we all?
After I lost my cool, about the egg, I apologized to both the kids and Jane.
I said both “I’m sorry” and “I was wrong.”
I’m not quite certain of the distinction.
But they both felt important to say. I was wrong to have shouted and stormed off in a huff.
They forgave me.
But, the half-life of shame seems disproportionately long.
I have a harder time forgiving myself.
And I know I’m not alone.
I’d forgive someone else in this same situation.
I mean, I’m on my third week of this bizarre reality television show Survivor: Home Edition. The Mayer family of the Pacific Northwest.
  • Will Dad crack under the pressure?
  • Will Mom?
  • Will either kid get hurt requiring a dreaded trip to the emergency room?
  • Was adopting a six-week-old rescue dog three weeks ago really a good idea?
  • Can these two parents, graduates of the high school class of 88, get by with weeks of interrupted sleep?
Stay tuned.
I might be losing my mind.
Am I losing my mind?
How would I know?

No matter how small the serving of

  • love
  • gratitude
  • connection
they satiate.
No matter how large the serving of
  • hate
  • blame
  • righteous indignation
they do not satisfy.
No matter how seemingly warranted—no matter how much they temporarily satisfy feelings of inadequacy—hate, blame, and righteous indignation act counter to our aspirational desires—to be the best human beings we can be.
Moreover, only love, gratitude, and connection can buffer our hearts when we inevitably encounter despair.
With love, gratitude, and connection in mind, I commend to you the following exercise:
1. Go to the messaging app on your phone or tablet
2. Scroll down three or four pages of recent messages
3. Randomly select and press on an entry
4. Write to that person:
 Hey, I was just thinking about you
and wanted to take a extra few seconds
to send you a message.
5. Notice how you feel as you are doing this
6. Repeat until you have sent five messages
7. Optional: tell me how it goes
I don’t know much.
I don’t.
I don’t know that your little spark of love and gratitude will make a difference in the long term.
But, I think so.
I hope so.
I believe so.
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Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter

Mess. With intent to douse her brother with water, my 11-year-old Annie tugged on the backyard garden hose. “Stop! Stop! Stop!” I shouted. She didn’t see that the hose, tangled on a garden stake, would damage a portion of the garden if she pulled any further. She...

read more
It was wrong

It was wrong

  It was wrong We had decided to stain the diminutive cedar fence Minwax 203 — Early American. Two months into Covid-19. We conscript the kiddos into “family time backyard improvement project.” We parents have, at the very least, a different opinion as to the right...

read more