Ryan’s Side of the Story
Read “She Said” Grace’s Side of the Story here.
One of my favorite parts of the day is when I’m getting off work and heading home.
I love my job, but there is just something special about getting home and seeing the woman of my dreams, everyday. Especially when we were first married and we lived a block away from my work, coming home for lunch, or on a break just to see her- even for 10 minutes – was the best thing ever! We were married in January, and I remember vividly getting a birthday card in March that said something along the lines of “With you as a husband,…(something sappy that i cant remember) and with you as a FATHER…” I didn’t read much past that word.
Actually, at first it didn’t really sink in. I thought my gorgeous, insightful, new wife of 2 months was just saying “you’re going to be a great dad some day” – it actually took her saying “Ryan you are a father” about 3 times before I realized this wasn’t some secret code for how much she loved me but that she was actually pregnant!
When I told my dad, he said the same thing he told me when we got married, “I guess it’s the kind of thing where if you wait until you’re ready, you’ve waited too long.” Thanks dad… No “Congrats!” or “you are going to be a great dad!” but I knew what he meant, and I loved it. What would you expect from a football and weightlifting coach, who also started and ran his own business on the side and slept maybe 5 hours a night?
My first thought was… “We need a book, something like ‘So You’re Gonna Be a Dad...'” (Of course that’s not even a real book, I looked)
And it all began, real life, the first time we really looked at our finances, the first time we realized what debt really was, the first time we really fought. Maybe that’s what happens when you go from living a honeymoon to realizing money is a real thing and you really have to change your attitude and work ethic a lot to get it – even if it means moving in with your in laws, talk about humiliating… “Yes, I want to marry your daughter, Yes, I will provide for her….uhhh, can we stay with you for a bit?” Not fun.
I learned money quickly and out of necessity, sales, business as well as attempting to become a master in my field. Things got better financially as we got serious about “real life” and now our “surprise” is a 4 year old genius boy, who has a 2 year old fearless gorgeous sister, with another on the way! Crazy? Maybe, but I love it, we love it.
There is no feeling in the world like it when my daughter runs screaming to the door, “Daddy, daddy, daddy!!!!” As if she hadn’t seen me in weeks. And my son grabbing me and doing his best not to smile but stare me down and say “we fight now” and then the battle for the universe begins… Transformers vs the hulk vs iron man vs who knows who he is going to be and have me be today…. I love it. I love all of it, the feeling I get when my wife kisses me, the feeling I get when my kids love me, the feeling I get when I know I can come home and relax.
And after 10 minutes of that I look around and realize the house is a mess, my clothes aren’t washed like she said they would be (at least I swear she did), the dishes are disgusting, my daughter scratches my son, my son is yelling at my daughter and my pregnant wife can’t move because the baby inside her is kicking her ribs harder than should be humanly possible.
This is when I lose it in my head and everything goes from this perfect fantasy world to nightmarish – flash backs of my dad screaming at my mom, my mom loosing her mind because she was out numbered by a bunch of angry boys, and then my dad walks out to the front porch for a beer or his back office for even more… Everything inside of me wants to shut down and walk away or make everyone see how ridiculous it is that things aren’t perfect (the way I want them)…
My parents got divorced because they loved the feeling of being loved. Sure they loved their kids and they loved each other, they were even good friends for a while, but as soon as they felt like they were disrespected as soon as it seemed like the other one wasn’t pulling as much weight as he/she should, the gloves came off “you don’t do anything” “I do everything” “I can’t handle this” “I need a beer” “go get drunk that’s what this family needs”…
And if I were to be perfectly honest I feel those same thoughts and tendencies wanting to scream out of me some days.
I had a good friend remind me that “true love is not feeling loved or receiving love, but preferring the other, expecting nothing in return.” I thought about that for a minute and it hit me, those days I am so upset about the dishes or my clothes, most of time, the night before I’m watching tv doing nothing or I am so busy with something from work that I cant help all that much. But then I am pissed it’s not done. This is when I hear “I told you so” come out of mom’s mouth to my dad… But my wife is so encouraging, caring, kind, (sure we argue) but wow is she unselfish. And here I am as selfish as can be wanting everything perfect just for me, so that I can feel loved, so I can feel special, so I can feel like super dad and super husband to the rescue… Happy valentines day? Ha.
Even with just little thoughts, and expectations – when I change, my marriage changes, my family changes.
– Ryan Mckenzie