There are days – well I shouldn’t say days – moments really – there are moments, which usually pop into my mind as I try to remain calm during a toddler meltdown – and we’ve had some epic ones here at the Beachwood Boys Club – when I will catch myself thinking “What did I do to myself?  I mean, I used to have a strong sense of self. I thought I used to know who I was. What I stood for. I used to care about whether or not I left the house with small amounts of vomit on my shirt, or if I got more than four hours sleep – didn’t I?”

After a fleeting moment, the thought will pass and I will come back to the present. “Am I really trying to engage in a rational discussion with a two year old about a mislaid Lego brick?  Is this who I am now?  Have I become such a community dad that I can no longer see the wood for the trees?  That I must entertain every new crisis and take on the severity of each new occurrence as my own personal crusade?”

Parenting if nothing else has taught me – or rather has forced me to access – my patience.  Not a quality to which I am naturally predisposed.   And it has encouraged me to discern the life threatening: “Jaxon take your finger out of that electric socket”; from the critical “Jaxon please don’t drop that on your brother’s head”;  to the unimportant – or irrelevant – “Jaxon please try to avoid hitting me in the face next time you do that.”

But then – even in the heat of battle of one of those moments – and it really can feel like a battle sometimes, one of them will say something innocuous, or a make a noise or offer a look and I will be jarred out of my own ego and back into the reality, the love and the joy.  So far from berating myself about not feeling like a perfect parent all the time, I welcome those moments of frustration, because I know they will pass and I know that they offer me an opportunity to remind me of what I have.