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Sometimes it all goes wrong and yesterday it did.

Maybe the above statement is a touch melodramatic, but the late afternoon was certainly not very pleasant.

On afternoons like this, I really struggle as a father.

I struggle because there is no manual.

There is no system to follow.

Every situation is never the same. You can’t easily untie yourself from your emotions. You can’t predict the sudden change in behaviour. You are always on. Always parenting without rest, and doing your best to teach you children something meaningful. Thats the whole point of it. To leave them better. To give them hope. To arm them and unleash them on the world. To spare our your own insecurities and hang ups.

It has been a struggle lately not to argue with my eight and six year old. Mostly my eight year old, but the six year old has fallen into the habit of following her brother into the wilderness as well.

I will spare you the details because I would never embarrass my children.

It’s never right to tell one side of the story.

But I can tell you that in a state of frustration and exhaustion I just gave up.

By doing so my mind was instantly flooded with self deprecating remarks and stinging words that felt like they have been anxious to get out for a very long time.

I wanted to give up being a parent. Thinking that deep down nothing I do matters. My words and life serves no real purpose. That someone else would do a better job. Is more qualified. Would be more patient. More loving. More understanding.

I felt like a piece of shit, but looking back I am amazed that I didn’t call myself one. I am pretty amazed that my negative tirade was not laced with any spicy words. That’s certainly different than before. A sign of hope, I imagine. A sign of growth?

Earlier, I was working on an article I am submitting to the CBC in hopes of winning the non-fiction contest, but mostly to honour my commitment to myself, and see what happens.

At that moment I thought none of what I ever written truly mattered.

I thought that they were empty words, sad attempts at attention seeking. Valueless collection of nouns and verbs with no purpose and little direction.

I wanted to give up everything.

Parenting. Writing. Speaking. Teaching.

Everything.

But I didn’t.

I took a deep breath. Did what still had to be done Went through the usual bedtime routine and decided to call it a day and read myself to sleep.

As I was walking upstairs. I noticed that my son’s light was still on. He was reading. We both knew this wasn’t a good day for either of us.

I opened the door and called out his name. He turned himself around, put his book down and looked at me, a little bit concerned.

I looked at him for a brief moment. I smiled and told him I loved him.

Thats what I wanted him to remember about yesterday.

That is what I wanted to remind myself and go to sleep with.

I don’t think we can ever stop the sewer system of our mind to keep producing waste. I also don’t think that there won’t be any more days like this. But I do believe that there is hope in everything. There is an opportunity to renew who we are.

We don’t have to become victim of our shining thoughts.

We can let them die down and get back to loving and living.