You don’t have to be in a happy marriage to be a great Papa, but it sure does help. I met my future wife in college around 2001. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I still remember the first time I laid my eyes on her. We were in the dorms and she lived across the open veranda on the other side of the building. I remember her leaving her room and thinking, I have to meet this girl.
As a kid from a broken home and knowing all the emotions that I had gone through as a kid and still go through, my idea of commitment was a little different than most. I have never been the guy to have a lot of friends. I am very careful about who I let into my circle. To this day I have two close friends that I speak with on a regular basis and that I know would be there for me for anything. That’s it. Period. I don’t do acquaintances or good time friends. These are the friends that are there only when things are good. People you can’t have a meaningful conversation with and would be the first to ignore your phone call when you needed help. I don’t bother with these people because they add nothing to my life. That being said, up until this point, I had only used the word love for family and a couple of friends and I wouldn’t use it for anyone else for another six years.
That’s right. My wife and I dated for six years and it wasn’t until around year five that I used the sacred words, “I love you”. Those words should not be thrown around lightly and without consideration. They mean so much. Those words mean that you will be there for anything. They mean that you will put that person at the forefront of your thoughts and actions. They mean that you are willing to do for them things that you wouldn’t do for most. So, when I said those words, I knew that after almost six years, she was the one. I mean, I know people can fake it but it would be hard to fake it for that long. I figured I had seen everything at that point.
Those six years of dating would be the foundation that we needed to develop a marriage that has been filled with love and friendship for the last 12 years. That love and friendship is what gives us as a couple, the foundation to be the best parents that we can be, and that foundation is what allows me to be the Papa I have become. That relationship that we built through six years of getting to know each other allows us to lean on one another when things get hard, when the kids are hitting every last nerve in your body, and when life seems to be picking on you for no good reason. When one of you hits your limit the other knows it’s time to step in and take the reins.
In many ways parenting reminds me of a race called the Rolex 24 that I have been to several times. It is a 24-hour race that involves mostly European sports cars and several drivers. The drivers work together to complete the race, switching back and forth as one drives and the other rests. Now, as a parent we work in unison but after running our engines at full speed day after day, sometimes, the other driver needs to know when to step in and take over. Knowing when that time is, is based on a solid relationship and understanding of each other.
To Be Continued…….