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4.25.2012

A man coming into his own

I've mentioned how much Buddy has stepped up and participated in getting things done around here since I got ill. Well, it's starting to have a deeper effect. Because he's more reliable and consistent, the boys are starting to trust him and feel more comfortable around him. When he says he'll do something, they believe him. When he's at home he plays ball, engages in conversation and what interests them. He comes home with questions and enthusiasm about their lives and they are starting to reciprocate.

He realizes this and didn't see it coming. I don't think he knew how to really be there for the kids and as they always kept him at arms length he assumed that was all he might get as 'dad'. But earning their trust has changed things. They're all excited to tell him about their day when he comes home. They look forward to the weekend he has off and they show affection that was denied him before. It's a real treat to see.

Oh, sure there's still the usual arguing and parental struggle that goes on but it isn't seeped in the deep bitterness and resentment it had before. He carried the weight of a broken home on his shoulders and the blame for all the ills that came before, and he wore them like an old Italian widow in black, like it was his lifelong shroud. He was told he was a screw up in so many ways that he believed it and made it the truth. But his world is coming together, his life is under control, and he doesn't want to be the image of that loser. He's leaving it behind like a bad dream.

What are we left with? A kind man. A hardworking man who loves his family. A man who wants to be part of his kids lives. It's like there is a new voice in the house instead of the shadow he played for the first year or so. He's coming into his own and bringing them along with him. The biggest sign of all this is that he's cracking the hardest nut in the house: Kit.

Kit blamed him for everything. Kit, who was always so close to his mom, never cut his dad a break. He told me once that his mom said that his dad never loved him, that's how deep a hole he was in. Well, that eleven year old boy has been posting "I love my dad" on his facebook page, and even wrote "I love you, Daddy" on our family chalkboard this morning.

They're finally becoming a whole family. Good for you, Buddy.