Monday, October 1, 2012

I screwed up

Being a parent is hard.
Tonight was the end of a very fun but long day. After church, Rowan and I took advantage of the absolutely gorgeous weather to go play around Green Lake in Seattle for the afternoon. The weather was SO wonderful, I stayed there over an hour later than I should have. It just seemed so, I don't know, magical somehow. I didn't want the day to end.

Once we did get home, everything seemed to be going ok. Bath, TV show, teeth brushing, and eventually Rowan was in bed. But about 10 minutes after I got her down and I collapsed on the couch in exhaustion, I heard her call me and ask me to come back up. I was just so damn tired and not thinking, I said, "Rowan, I am not coming back up there right now. I just left a few minutes ago, and I want you to keep trying to go to sleep."

She almost immediately started crying.

Now under normal circumstances, I'd chalk this up to a tired girl not getting her way. And on any given day that may have been it. But as she started crying I also realized that bedtime has been hard for her lately. And she may not have been looking for an excuse to delay sleep, but some comfort and snuggles from daddy because the sudden quiet left her thinking about her mommy.

Man, can I relate to THAT. My sleep patterns are still a disaster after months of avoiding lying in bed awake.

I took a deep sigh, got up, and headed up to her room. She indeed looked sad. If she'd just been looking for an excuse to stay up, she would have brightened when I came in. Instead, she kept crying, and then broke my heart with, "I'm sorry, Daddy. I'm just a little sad and want a hug."

Many of you will probably tell me it's understandable to be so tired at the end of a long, fun day. You're right. And many others might say that every parent has those moments when we're at the end of our rope, and that I shouldn't be too hard on myself. And you're right as well. But that doesn't change one simple fact. This is not a normal family, and Rowan is not going through something that most children go through. And I know that, just like I know lately has been hard for her. I have to work harder on keeping that in mind before I react, so that I can be better at giving her what she needs.

Luckily, children forgive quickly. I snuggled up to her, and she wrapped her arms around one of mine and cuddled up to me with a sigh. It was only a few moments before her breathing got slower and heavier, and I slipped out of her room and went back downstairs.

Good thing for me, that little child loves me. :)


  1. Parenting is hard. You realized that she did need you though and made it right - that is a big thing. Rowan is blessed to have you.

    1. Thanks. And I am blessed to have her.

  2. Sorry, but I fail to see where you screwed up. I read and reread you story, and all I see is a dad who spent a beautiful, fun day with his daughter, and then comforted her when she was sad and needed a little extra love. You even ignored time, because you know that parent schedules aren't written in stone. Unless I missed something, you're a pretty awesome dad.

    1. I felt like I screwed up because I initially assumed she was just stalling, and all I wanted to do was crash on the couch. It wasn't until she started crying and I went up to her room that I realized that it might be (and was) something else. I felt like I should have known better.

      But I do appreciate the kind words. :)

  3. Pat, you did NOT screw up in anyway.....You both had a long funfilled day, and it is getting close to that time. She really misses her mommy. For a kid at that age or any age in fact is a traumatic thing. So please do not think in anyway that you screwed up. Rowan knows you will protect and comfort her when she is sad.

  4. You're a loving father, and it's tender to read how much you care for your Rowan.