Monday, June 13, 2011

A Lesson in Adequacy

I think I may have raised the bar too high.  This isn’t some crazy way to laud myself and talk about how great I am.  I actually think that I’ve been so adequate and average for so long that my consistency has morphed and been misinterpreted as some form of excellence.  Really I’m not the type to exude excellence.

I write this because I was not even close to excellent this past Saturday.  Hell I wasn’t even adequate.  I wasn’t in the same neighborhood as average.  I would have gladly welcomed piss poor as an alternative to my Saturday performance.  But it all started on Friday night as these stories normally do.

We went out to dinner with Erin’s brother and mom.  We of course brought the girls along.  I had pizza for the first time in months.  I had a couple of beers.  We laughed and joked and had wonderful food.  We were the focus of much attention from the other restaurant goers, and it wasn’t even in a “look at those freaks with the twins” sort of interest.  People loved seeing us with our girls (or more accurately they loved seeing our girls with us since they get top billing).  Grace was saying DADADADA, and I was loving the attention it brought since it is absolutely adorable.  But it all headed downhill after we got home and did bath, bottle and bed time.

Once the girls were settled in for the evening, some friends came over.  I was already about 4 beers in when all parties were over to hang out in the back yard on beautiful summer evening.  It was a Goldilocks kind of night.  Not too hot, not too cold.  I continued to have more beer in a number of varieties.  Now I’ve never been a huge drinker.  I was later to the drinking party than most.  I didn’t go away to college and was pretty much working and going to school full time during my formative drinking years, so I didn’t build up the type of tolerances most do.  Even now I don’t drink a ton very often, and I rarely deviate from one type of alcohol of choice while doing so.  Friday was not a normal one of my nights.

I drank.  A lot.  My wife kept mentioning that I was drinking.  A lot.  I didn’t listen to her.  At all.  I was being pretty hilarious if I say so myself, but that may have been fueled by my self-reflective beer goggles.  You know where you think you’re the most witty, handsome and gregarious person alive when in reality you are saying rude, inappropriate things while offending all your guests and making things extremely awkward.  My wife actually doesn’t disagree that I was being very fun and lively, so at least Friday was a shining moment in my weekend.  I think I escorted our guests out.  I stumbled upstairs with a greenish-pale face.  I went to bed feeling sick.

I actually slept well which is not the normal occurrence when I drink entirely too much.  But when I woke up, I knew I was hungover.  I didn’t even have to move from my fetal position in the bed.  I just knew it.  The oddest thing is that I had no trace of a headache.  In fact my head was completely clear, and that may have made it worse.  I was completely cognisant of how I felt and why.  I was sick to my stomach and no good to anyone.  I actually tried to tough out when I first got up and yacked (auto-correct doesn’t know the proper spelling and I’m too lazy to look it up).  I actually tried to lay on the floor with Grace and play with her.  She seemed to enjoy daddy’s pain and even smacked me a few times on the forehead as if to say "You idiot.  Why did you do this to yourself?"  She is so wise.

I got up and tried to eat some graham crackers and drink some water.  Didn’t work.

Erin took the girls away to let me rest and do some shopping.  Didn’t help.

I tried to eat a little more and drink some more water.  Wasn’t having it.

Erin was not happy about my current state and didn’t hesitate to remind me that I did it to myself and should have listened to her.  When has this ever helped a situation by the way?  “I told you so” never actually solves anything and makes the person you are saying “I told you so” to only more pissed off and willing to defy you even if it is to their own detriment.  She also pulled out the guilt-trip card of a wasted day with my girls because I was in no condition to spend time with them.  I also wasn’t able to help her.  This is where it hurt because I knew she was right, and it only made me feel worse.  This is where I dropped off the adequate scale into the worthless domain, and I felt even worse than what I’m sure the alcohol poisoning did to me.

I don’t get lots of time with my girls what with me basically working and away from them 11-12 hours per day, and here I was throwing away a day with them.  My wife can say whatever she wants about any of my shortcomings and my lack of polish, but I’ve always been attentive and willing to help (especially since the girls were born).  Here I was killing a day that I normally cherish just for a night of too many beers with friends.

Because I felt like I was letting everyone down, I tried to rally.  Erin and I were supposed to take the girls to a barbeque with the other members of the twin group we joined.  It was not nearby, and I tried my hardest to tough out the car ride.  It wasn't happening which forced Erin to turn back around and head home.  So I ruined a day for everyone.  Awesome.

My wife brought me back home and left me there to go to the mall with the girls.  She was supportive in that she wanted to feel better, but she had no problem showing her disappointment.  When she returned hours later, I finally started to feel a little like myself again.  I actually held down some food and water which was huge.  I did some yard work feeling not entirely like I’d hold it together but kept a brave face.  I hopefully made up for it Sunday when I watched the girls while Erin was gone for a few hours, and we took them swimming for the first time ever.

What it taught me is that a parent of twins (or any parent really) can’t take a day off from being a parent.  My wife needs me to be a part of this.  I already knew this, but it really crystallized when I couldn’t help and felt equal parts powerless and worthless.  I also learned that being there is sometimes as big as being amazing.  In fact always being there may actually be better than being amazing.

I just know that I certainly won’t be spending my first Father’s Day hungover in spite of my sister getting married the day before and the raging party that should follow.  And that’s called a lesson my friends.


Becoming Supermommy said...

Yup. You never get a break again. I've been dealing with the same epiphanies. Totally sucks. All I wanted to do was put my rapidly expanding tomato plants in the ground. Still haven't managed that.

(I've been reading your blog for about a week now, and I've really been enjoying it! You guys are sort of like an alternate reality us, and call me a narcissist but I like reading about that. Good luck!)

Kyle said...

And yet it's a lesson we all feel the need to learn for ourselves rather than take another's word for it. The dad hangover is so much more painful than the college one. I've had one, and learned my lesson just like you. And I'll never have another one again. What I discovered is I'm just as handsome and charming with 2 beers in me as I am with 22. And, from getting to know you the last few months, I gaurantee you'll see the same results. Cheers! ;)