Last night, I watched Gary come in after driving an hour (each way) to cheer for Sunflower at her soccer game in Hickville. As soon as he hit the front door, he grabbed his school books and his notes, and he sat down to read the next chapter for school and study for a test tomorrow.
I stayed up with him for a while, reading beside him to keep him company, but finally my heavy eyelids forced me to admit defeat and head to bed. As I hit the sheets, he was still leaning over his books and notes.
I couldn’t help thinking that the kids really have no idea what he is willing to do to make sure he spends time with them. He truly should not have gone to Sunflower’s soccer game last night, with all the school work he had to do. For him, it’s an hour drive to get there, and it’s not like he’s warmly welcomed or even treated remotely civilly once he gets there. Crow spends the entire game glowering and pissed off because she can’t sit in the car plastered to her cell phone, ignoring the game, if he is there. For his benefit, she feels the need to waddle her podgy, eyesore self around, putting on her fake motherly act, even though lord knows Gary is already well aware of her atomic parental and personal shortcomings.
Then, after that questionable delight, he gets to turn around, drive over an hour home, without having had dinner yet, and walk in the door around 9 PM, to just now start his school work for the next day.
I know most kids do not appreciate their parents and all they do for them, and I know I was guilty of the same thing growing up. Still, I hope that someday the kids fully understand and value the enormous sacrifices that Gary is willing to make to be a part of their lives, to encourage the activities they choose, and to root for them in all they do.
For now, the kids seem to think Gary just materializes right there on the side of the field or in their classroom with no effort and scheduling and rearranging on his part, and then teleports instantly back to our house, where everything simply falls into place and all he needs to do for the next day is magically completed for him. If they can tell how tired he is, they don’t show it, leaping on him and wanting to be picked up and tickled and entertained.
This morning, Gary’s eyes were red and watering from lack of sleep. He had eased the bedroom door shut so the light wouldn’t keep me up while he worked on school work long after I fell asleep.
I will wait for a text from him, letting me know what he got on his test today. And I will still be thinking that it is a shame if the kids do not grasp and appreciate that their father is willing to do far more for them than anyone else in their lives, no matter how terribly he is treated or how hard others work to try to push him out of their lives.
He is a lesson for others in the kids’ lives in how to be a good parent. Too bad no one in the kids’ other home cares enough to learn.