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Reaffirming Life Moment

Last night was a rough night in our household.  Baby C was cranky when I picked him up after work.  He did not have a nap yesterday afternoon.  He was fussy and nothing would please him.

It was a struggle to get his socks, shoes, and coat on, but when we finally did I was able to get him out to the car and we left the sitter’s house.  Five minutes later, he was fast asleep in his car seat.

It takes roughly 30 to 40 minutes to get home from the sitter’s house.  When we got home I attempted to wake Baby C up because I was afraid that if he slept all evening he wouldn’t sleep through night.  He fussed, cried, and screamed, so I sat in the recliner with him and let him go back to sleep on my chest for another 45 minutes or so.

When dinner was ready, it was time to wake him up.  He screamed.  He cried.  He yelled.  Nothing would pacify him.  We offered him cookies, bananas, and Honey Nut Cheerios, which are his favorite foods.  He said “okay” to each but when we attempted to hand them to him for him to eat he would cover his face and say, “No, all done.”

My mother-in-law took him and I quickly consumed my meal so that I could take him back so she could eat.  We played hot potato with him for a while because after so many seconds of one person  holding him he would look to another and ask to be held by that person.  “My mommy?  My daddy?  My gran gran?” he kept saying over and over.  So we kept passing him around in a vain effort to placate him.

After roughly 15 minutes of that I decided to take him upstairs to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  He loves that show and I figured if anything would cheer him up that would be it.  So I grabbed him, his banana, and his cup, and we headed upstairs.

A CGI Donald as he appears in the children's t...

Donald Duck, or according to Baby C, Quack Quack.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He immediately calmed down once I was able to get the show started.  After the first episode was over he had calmed down enough that he no longer needed to be held.  After the third show he was playing with his toys.

At that moment I decided to take him back downstairs to spend time with his “gran gran” because the few minutes she was able to spend with him he was unruly and crying.  She loves spending time with him and he with her.  So we went downstairs.

He immediately headed to the dining room table with her.  The dining room table has a bench on one side which he loves to play on.  We have a little game now where he sits on the bench and I sit across from him on the other side of the table and we roll his cars (car cars, as he calls them) back and forth.

So there we were when my father-in-law emerged from his bedroom, which my mother-in-law affectionately (or not) refers to as his “cave.”  He went into the kitchen for a moment to fix himself something to eat and asked if Baby C was doing better and if I thought he would be up all night.

I answered his questions and he went back into the kitchen.  Some time later he stopped and watched me play with his grandson for just a few moments.  Then, out of nowhere, he said, “You’re a good father,” and walked back to his “cave” without another word.

Sure, he was drunk, but I’ve found more often than not that intoxication brings the truth right out of people.  People just don’t have the wherewithal to come up with a lie while under the influence.  Not in my experience, anyhow.

This meant a lot to me for a number of reasons.  My father-in-law is a very difficult man to please.  He’s gruff and surly.  He doesn’t let most people in.  He rarely compliments.  He never admits when he’s wrong.  He also knows loss.  His son committed suicide.  In short, he’s been through and experienced a great deal.  So for him to not only think I am a good father, but to actually say it to me as well…it means a lot.  It literally warmed me up inside.  His approval made me feel validated.

I’ve been told I’m a good father before.  My wife has told me.  My mom has told me.  But I expect to hear those things from people who love me.  I think that I’m a pretty decent father.  But for some reason it meant something coming from him.  He’s a man of few words, at least to me he is.

So I’m a good father.  Who knew?

Woo hoo!

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Discussion

47 thoughts on “Reaffirming Life Moment

  1. My father-in-law is a very difficult man to please. He’s gruff and surly. He doesn’t let most people in. He rarely compliments.

    I read that and thought you were talking about me then.

    Like

    Posted by Steve | February 13, 2013, 10:52 am
  2. Approval from in-laws is the highest praise one can receive. I hope to one day have my father-in-law drunkenly praise my parenting skills.

    And television – is there anything it can’t fix?

    Like

    Posted by The Cutter | February 13, 2013, 11:22 am
  3. It’s nice to have that unexpected reassurance! (And we knew all along that you’re a good father!)

    Like

    Posted by Polysyllabic Profundities | February 13, 2013, 11:31 am
  4. “in vino veritas” or as we say here “thats arthur guinness talking” You know what you’ll have on tap in future!

    Like

    Posted by 1tric | February 13, 2013, 11:48 am
  5. It’s obvious that you’re a good dad by the way you talk about the kids. And after all, they gave you your secret identity!

    Like

    Posted by Elyse | February 13, 2013, 12:36 pm
  6. Great post Twindaddy, thanks for sharing. not long ago my wife and I lived with her parents for a little over a year. It was not until then that her dad warmed up to me. The thing is that my wife got pregnant on our wedding night of all things and no one buys that. This made my relationship with her parent terribly unpleasant. I had even gotten into a few heated arguments with both of them. Now they both see me as a a very hard working provider and dedicated kind father.
    It is strange how validation form someone else is important when it comes to parenting. I grew up with a father who drank constantly and the only time I saw him is when he took me to the bar or took me hunting. My mother is great but she was a business owner and a super workaholic. I use this experience to be a better parent and I guess when someone says you are it can give you a sense of accomplishment and validation.

    Like

    Posted by Animockery | February 13, 2013, 12:43 pm
  7. My father-in-law, after 10 years, has reached a point where – I think – he can grudgingly respect that I’m good with his daughter. I’m the opposite of what I think he’d have chosen for her in almost every way. I literally laughed out loud (LLOL’d!) imagining him complimenting me as a father. I can imagine him thinking it before quickly shooing the thought away with sarcasm, anger and booze… but saying it?

    Like

    Posted by The Byronic Man | February 13, 2013, 12:50 pm
  8. It normally is.

    Like

    Posted by twindaddy | February 13, 2013, 2:18 pm
  9. It’s nice that you a get compliment from the person you least expected to you give one. Sure, he might’ve been drunk, but it didn’t make the action any less deserving. :)

    Like

    Posted by sarahneeve | February 13, 2013, 2:31 pm
  10. If all I knew about you was what I’d just read in this post, I’d know you were a good father. So glad you got to hear it from your father-in-law.

    Like

    Posted by happyzinny | February 13, 2013, 2:58 pm
  11. Congratulations! Compliments from taciturn men come few and far between.

    Like

    Posted by notesfromrumbleycottage | February 13, 2013, 5:44 pm
  12. I never doubted that you would be otherwise. You obviously love your family ~ you’re a good man, Twindaddy!

    Like

    Posted by Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher | February 13, 2013, 6:09 pm
  13. I was thinking it as soon as you sat in the recliner with Baby C! I’m glad he gave you that compliment, he doesn’t sound like he hands those out to just anyone. Kinds words are always welcome.

    Like

    Posted by Life With The Top Down | February 13, 2013, 7:54 pm
  14. Awesome! I am jealous (not about the cranky baby part, about the compliment) because I would kill to hear that out of my Mother-in-laws mouth or even my own Mothers mouth!
    Wooo-Hooooo, indeed!

    Like

    Posted by GingerSnaap | February 13, 2013, 8:43 pm
  15. Hmm, the only thing my father-in-law does is molest my older brother….hahahaha

    Like

    Posted by Revis Edgewater | February 13, 2013, 8:50 pm
  16. We knew. Glad he does too.

    Like

    Posted by 1jaded1 | February 13, 2013, 11:01 pm
  17. This day just keeps bringing me love and signs of love in every direction I look! I love that b/c I just love love! This is so warm, kind and sweet! I bet you are a great father! Fun, funny, generous, smart.. to name a few.. Inspiring me, in this piece, to love my little cousins even more ( I’m not a mother…..yet) Though I so desperately wish to be. Love this sweet stuph right here! ~jen

    Like

    Posted by jenlefeverwood | February 14, 2013, 1:03 am
  18. I could have told you that!

    Like

    Posted by The Hook | February 15, 2013, 2:45 pm
  19. I’m pleased that you’re pleased and that your skills have been recognised, and the appreciation vocalised! It sounds like you could have had a nightmare evening there, but it worked out for the best for everyone, which is just as big a compliment as the words from your father-in-law.

    Like

    Posted by faithhopechocolate | February 15, 2013, 3:11 pm

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  1. Pingback: Inspired Thank You « 50 Things Before I Turn 50 - February 13, 2013

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