“There’s one life, one love, so there can be only one king.” – Nas “The Message”. Why did I quote that lyric? Kings are viewed as these perfect beings, even when they’re flawed. People look past the imperfections to see what they want in their king. My daughter will be looking to me in a similar fashion. I’m supposed to be someone who will protect her from “invaders”, make sure she’s nurtured, and provides her with the tools to build her own “kingdom”.
I’ve made mistakes throughout my forty-two years. Some of those have reared their ugly head recently and put a small wrench in our plans for Harper. When you sit down and take a hard, HONEST look at yourself and put it on paper, the truth can be brutal. Seeing it staring back at you, there’s no way to hide from it. This self-inventory caused me to go into a slight depression and second guess my ability to be a good father. One of the key tenets of fatherhood is being a provider..right? Here I am, two months in, and I’m already on the brink of failing my daughter. At least that’s what my mind is telling me. How can I be a good father if I can’t manage at this early stage to give my daughter the care she deserves. Even worse, I KNEW this moment would come, where we’d have to put her in daycare, yet I ignored some of the financial warning signs that were clear as day.
I’m not doing this alone. Of course, my lady is helping with this. However, in my mind, as the one who is supposed to be the provider, it’s killing me that I let it get to a point where we must micro-analyze every single cent we spend. I’ve spent the last week in a mental rut trying to figure all this out. Do I get a second job? Where can I cut back? Do we go with a lesser standard of care for now until I can dig out of this hole? I listened to a podcast that talked about discipline versus survival and what the key differences are in each (www.youwannadowhat.com). Discipline would have had me pay attention almost a year ago when we found out we were going to be parents and start saving. Survival has me playing catch up and scrambling at the last minute.
Fortunately for us, a few things broke our way and it looks like we’re going to be ok in the short term which will allow me to recover and be a bigger help down the line. My best friend and my lady are beyond supportive and have not judged me for my mistakes. Instead, they’ve painted a road for me to go forward and be able to dig myself out of this hole. It’s not easy; I must be very disciplined and execute the plan without wavering. The key is to stay focused and understand that this path, this plan, will benefit everyone, my lady, myself, and most importantly, Harper.
As I write this, I’m mentally in a better place than I was a week ago. I no longer feel inadequate and depressed. I see it as an opportunity to learn and be better than before. This is a growing moment in my journey as a first-time father. The key is to understand there will be many more of these; there isn’t a person out there, parent or not, that hasn’t come across adversity during their development. If there’s one thing I know about myself it’s that I’ve never quit on anything I’ve put my mind to. My best friend always tells me that I’m one of the most mentally strong people she knows. I’m going to put that strength on display and show Harper, that yes, your dad is not perfect, but he’s smart enough to learn and get better.
Time to be a real king to my daughter.