It's humbling when your 4 yr old makes you look bad.
The other morning I was in the bathroom shaving and getting ready for the day. Loni (our 9 month old) was crying hysterically in her crib after she just woke up. She can be a little dramatic sometimes. When she wants out, she will let you know it. I couldn't get to her fast enough I guess. Gio already made it into her room. I heard him talking to her but couldn't piece together what he was saying. As I walked around the corner, I found him playing in her crib with her. Then he busted out this comforting line, "you want me to wipe away your tears sissy? I'll wipe them for you."
He stopped me in my tracks. Number 1, I hope he stays like this, he gets it. Number 2, how come I don't?
When my wife Amber cries, I treat her like one of the bros. "Come on babe." "You're strong remember." "You can do this." "It's just a mental game." "You gotta dig deep."
Even if that's true, why can't I just shut up for a second and say, "you want me to wipe away your tears babe. I'll wipe them for you."
Most of the time she's not looking for an answer. She doesn't want any advice. She just wants to be comforted.
I used to handle with care.
When we first started dating I would do anything for her. It's the game we all play at the beginning of a relationship. We put on our best outfits, our best personas, and our best charm. I would give her my utmost attention, bend over backwards to appease her, plan creative dates and outings together, and buy her anything she wanted. (No actually I didn't do that last one, I didn't have any money. She probably paid for our first date at McDonalds. #brokeasajoke)
I was desperate for her though. I wanted her badly. And I guess, according to what she throws in my face lately, I showed it more back then.
Now trust me, I love her to pieces now. I fight hard to never take a day with her for granted. But after two kids, a growing business, and just daily stressors of parenthood, life comes at you fast and gets in the way. Even though I think we spend more time together then most couples do, I'm not always "there" when we're together.
Something happened the other night that was hysterical and freaky all at the same time. Amber was getting into bed. She pulled the covers up in the dark, turned towards me, and connected her elbow to my eye socket. The elbow to my eyeball didn't hurt at all. But for some reason my eye bone nailed her right in the sweet spot of her FUNNY BONE. I guess hitting the funny bone can cause you to black out. Because that's what Amber did. (It's called a vasovagal response, it's very common when the nerve gets rattled like that.)
Within :20 seconds of thrashing her body back and forth aggressively claiming she just broke her arm, while I'm confused as heck since I was the one that got drilled in the eye ball, she cocked back to the pillow and LIGHTS OUT. Her eyes rolled back, face turned pail, her entire body relaxed and calmed down and I'm dazed and confused as to what all just happened.
I scooped her up into my arms to bring her back to life and within those :10 seconds that seemed like eternity, all those thoughts you can imagine raced through my mind.
"Wonder if I lost her?"
There's no doubt, my world would end. She's the center of it. So why can't I just shut up from time to time and make sure SHE knows that.
I want Gio's little big heart to stay pure like this.
One day when your wife is "nagging" don't react out of impatience like I do sometimes.
When that "time of the month" happens don't speak stupidity and call her the Devil.
When she freaks out over some girl drama, don't tell her to quit being a baby.
Keep that heart pure my son. Men are different. We'll never fully understand the female language. But we have to at least understand the need to respond to it differently.
For now, I guess I'm learning from you.
WELL DONE. You could have walked into Loni's room and told her to stop crying already. "Suck it up." "Here's some toys, dig down deep and get over it." And you'll probably do that eventually, because that's what siblings do. But you didn't. You cared enough to climb into her crib, bring her some toys, and attempt to calm her down by just being available.
God used you at that moment to remind me to shut my trap, validate your mom's feelings, and acknowledge that I can't do much, but I can at least wipe her tears away. And I will always be here to at least do that.
Hey, I'm not saying I'm right or that I'll ever get this right. I'm just a chump with a lot of work to do.
But I'm willing to try.
And I challenge all men to rise up and simply do just that.
Why? Because it's our job. That's what we're called to do.
"For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her. Ephesians 5:25)"
When we got married our pastor said he didn't want us to have a good marriage, he wanted us to have the best one.
Things like this are helping us get closer.
It's not about me,
*Coach Theo is the author of his newly released book "Conversations With Gio." Available on Amazon.com.