Yesterday I was fighting fatigue, and I found myself telling my boys no, or not yet, or maybe (just putting them off until I said no later). It's still bugging me.
In I is for Imagination I described a time when I came home and was immersed in play; it's not always like that. There are times, like yesterday, that I say no to something my boys want to do and I don't know why. I might have plans of my own, but even if I don't, it slips out. When I reflect on the fact that I've told them no to a game of baseball, or a trip to the park, I regret it.
Don't get me wrong, my boys need to get used to hearing, and heeding, a no from their parents - but there are different kinds, aren't there? Saying no to slapping a face is not the same as a no to a book because there's a game on TV, or because I'm tired.
I want to play. I want to want to give my attention and my energy to those little buggers. It hits me the hardest when they're in bed; their breathing is slow, they're still. In the silence of their room I question my motives, my actions, my priorities. I want to say yes.
"Dad, you want to play baseball?"
"Yes, bud, I do."
"You're the catcher, I'm the pitcher."
Yes. I will say yes.