February 25, 2016 (Kampala):
The voice of guilt over being a terrible father has been growing louder. It’s no surprise, since I’ve been unkind to my girls this week. It’s almost like I can’t help it. Yesterday I even mocked Mercy over something she said. Is this the real me? I self-righteously told them two days ago that who they are when no one is watching is who they really are. If that’s true, then I’m in trouble. This week, without the accountability of others being around, I have been mean, impatient, negligent, and unkind. The strange thing is, when I’m acting that way, it’s unpremeditated; it just leaps from my heart so easily.
One thing that has been a theme of this week is ‘stupidity’. The girls have been doing some spectacularly stupid things that bewilder me. For example, yesterday they used dog and goose feces as ingredients for their pretend cooking. That’s after our teaching them for three years to avoid contact with poop. Although I’ve not said it directly, I’ve certainly thought STUPID many times, with the implied question: “Why am I stuck with stupid kids?” I know it’s wrong, but that is my internal monologue. What is this about?
Is it because I feel stupid? Studying for the GRE next week, I have a growing uneasiness that I will do poorly, especially on the quantitative section. Over the last six weeks, I’ve been studying and trying to understand algebra, geometry, statistics – things I haven’t dealt with for 15-20 years. I am a little concerned, to say the least.
Maybe deep down I’m frustrated also because I want to be caught up in something big, some important mission. I want to work, to strive. In fact, I haven’t properly ‘worked’ in three weeks. I’m tired of listening to meaningless chatter; I want deep conversation. I’m tired of endless bids for my attention, tired of emotional neediness. I’m emotionally needy. Perhaps I’m far needier than I realized. I’m tired of the children’s relentless drive to get me to let them do what they want to do, when I can’t do what I want to do.
I feel like a miserable failure as a stay-at-home dad, and so I view their silly mistakes as miserable failures too. I’m very hard on myself for not being mom and dad [while Amber is away], and that translates into being very hard on them for merely being children.
This morning, right now, I’m going to get down on my knees and pray for a change of heart, transformation.