Standing in my children’s room, watching them sleep, I am overcome, night after night, by a sense of sadness that cannot be stemmed.
I want to reach my hand down and shake them violently awake, screaming don’t sleep! Don’t sleep! Time is robbing you of life!
But what I really mean is that time is robbing me of life.
They are older. They are taller. They are children. But more and more they are becoming The Youth. Leaders of tomorrow. All that shit.
Am I doing a good job? Am I doing this right? Am I fucking you up?
I shouted at you. I said something harsh. I used venom in my words.
Oh, God. Did I compare you to your brother?
I put my face into my hands and I want to scream.
I feel like I’m letting you down. I feel like I’m letting all of you down.
Is this my best self? Am I bringing my best self to the table?
Who do you see, Rory? When you look at me. Who do you see, children? When you look at your father?
Am I kind? Am I generous? Am I funny?
Am I cruel? Am I cold? Am I distant and selfish?
Am I forgiving? Gracious? Thoughtful?
Do I educate you? Of course I do. But do I educate you properly? Do I teach you to be better?
Please be better than I am.
Please do better than me.
All I’ve ever wanted to be is a good dad.
And sometimes I am afraid that I am failing.
Parenting is so hard. So unbelievably hard. And it’s rewarding. But in none of the ways you’d hope or think.
Being with you breaks my heart because I know that it is temporary. I know you will leave. I know we aren’t getting any younger.
When you grow up and you look at me, who will you remember? What bits of me will remain in your memory? Who will I have become in your mind once I cease to be?
When I leave you, will the four of you be tightly knit? The Brookbank Children – you rowdy bunch of hooligans. I love you so. And it hurts.