Regrets of a grandson

Regrets of a grandson

On many nights, after my two daughters go to bed and I have some room in my head to string together coherent thoughts, I rewind the day's events and ponder my mistakes as a father.

Inwardly, I would grimace, groan, sigh, beat myself up over my impatience, short fuse, lack of tact, absence of tenderness and careless use of threats where a little cajoling and firm negotiation would have worked just as well.

Mental notes are jotted down: Faith, seven, and Sarah, four, are not necessarily obstinate or oblivious to instructions.

They are just like many young children - when engrossed in play, they lose the tenuous grip they have on the concept of time and will take forever just to brush their teeth, get dressed and head out of the house.

There's no need to raise my voice at them in exasperation.

Another note: Kids are often messy and will touch their heads, noses, ears, legs - anything! - when their hands are greasy from eating pizza. Live with it and be quick with the wet wipes. There's no need to freak out.

When Faith and Sarah wake up the next morning, I would apologise to them for my less-than-ideal behaviour.

So, yes, I work hard at being daddy to my girls, even if I don't have the inclination to read parenting books.

It comes naturally to me, this desire to do better with Faith and Sarah. Which is highly unusual for me because perseverance has never been one of my strong suits.

All my life pre-fatherhood, I've taken the path of least resistance, although "take" is too proactive a verb - I mostly allow myself to slide through life, at school, at work and in my family.

So, I tell my wife, half in jest, that being a father is my calling in life, for I've never enjoyed anything more. It's like how some children, when asked what they want to be when they grow up, reply "Mummy".

Forget astronaut, doctor, lawyer, entrepreneur, champion athlete, rock star - I love being daddy. And yet I never felt this way until Faith was born, followed by Sarah.

In all seriousness, my wife agrees with me that fatherhood is my calling, not least because I'm certainly a better father than I am a husband.

Make no mistake, I love my wife very much. In fact, I love and treat her as myself.

Therein lies the problem: Because I take it that we are one flesh, as the Bible expresses it, I do not tolerate behaviour different from mine.

It's terrible of me, of course, and I do angst about it, but not to the same extent that I feel wretched about my Big Bad Daddy acts.

My unsound reasoning goes like this: Faith and Sarah, being young, are far more vulnerable than their mummy.

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