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A “Karen” Said I'm Too Old to Be a Father to a Toddler
How old do I look?
A few weeks ago, my wife had food poisoning or the flu and was out of commission for the day. Our toddler had a cold and so did my 10-year-old daughter. From the moment I woke until they went to bed that night, I was running around the house like a madman.
I know I didn’t do a perfect job, but I did my best. The kids were fed and my wife was comfortable. Yes, the house was not as clean as my wife keeps it when she is well, but I kept up with it the best I could. At the end of the day, the dishes were done, the toys were picked up, and the family was happily in bed sleeping only as people who are very sick do.
Frankly, it was only a bit more than I do every other day, but this time, I was all alone.
For a long time that night, I sat on the couch with YouTube on the TV, just mindlessly staring. I was tired, but I still had to get something written for my blog and post something to Medium. I could not rest. But, to say that I was exhausted is an understatement.
I felt every aching muscle and my back was killing me. I was stressed out from battling my anxiety all day and it was difficult to focus. All I wanted to do was rest, but I couldn’t.
But the truth is, no matter how many times I said, “I’m too old for this shit,” it was nice to be needed. I didn’t mind waiting on everyone hand and foot because it made me feel like I was doing something valuable for the family. The thing is, every day is stressful because of our work schedules and our neurodivergent child, so this day was only more of what I am already used to doing.
Usually, people at my age (53) are starting to slow down. Maybe they have grown children and are starting to enjoy life without small children. But I remarried at 42, and my wife is 18 years my junior. I knew she would want kids of her own. I signed up for this. When I married that wonderful woman, I said I would do whatever she wanted in life and I am fulfilling that promise now.
Because of my full life, even with age making my body ache, and still feeling the after-effects of my heart attack, I feel like a young guy. My mind is still sharp like a teenager and even though my body is slowing down, I can keep up with what needs to be done every day.
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I sometimes post pictures of my family on Facebook, because I like to show off my beautiful family. The thing about Facebook is that I am very careful with who I allow as my friends. I’ve long since ditched the Trump-loving republicans for a more liberal friends list just because my mental health was suffering from all the flame wars I used to be involved in.
Usually, I will post my pictures as friends-only. I rarely post publicly unless I am posting memes. But I must have posted some pictures as “public” because I got a comment from someone who was not on my friends list.
After reading the comment, I looked at her profile and saw that she had that “let me speak to your manager” look about her that most Karens do. She was also very fond of the confederate flag, so there is that.
Her comment was not very long, and at first, I was going to ignore it, but the more I thought about it, the more it pissed me off. She wrote, “You should be ashamed of yourself. That family deserves a father without gray in his beard. You are way too old to have a toddler.”
Now before this comment, I always thought that I looked younger than my age. They say when you are married long enough, you start to look like your partner, and she is much younger. I sometimes feel like I am aging backward because of my wife, but this woman’s comment made me think that I look much older than I feel.
First of all, why do people think they can say anything they want? It would have served her right if I was rude to her, but that is what these people thrive on so I just blocked her. I learned long ago that it doesn’t pay to try to talk to these kinds of people.
But now, I am overthinking. I know I am a good father, but I am not the most active. Because of that, my crippling anxiety, and COVID, we don’t often do things like go to the beach or the mall. We go on drives and things like that, but most of the time, my wife and I work, so we don’t get to do all the fun things that most kids like to do.
I know I am a good father, but I am not perfect, and I wonder if I was younger, I would be more willing to do active things with my kids.
I try to remember what I was like as a young father and I seem to remember that I worked all the time. I never made time for my family because there were always bills to pay and mouths to feed. I know now, that as an older and more mature father, I spend a lot more time with my kids. I work from home and I can be here and be a present father to them.
Now that I am older, I know how important it is to give time to your kids. When I was young, all I worried about was getting ahead and the kids were an afterthought.
So, I say to that Karen who couldn’t keep her mouth shut: my kids are better off with a father who is older and knows the value of spending time with his young family. I know how much these kids need their father in their life right now and I am willing to sacrifice everything to give them the attention they need.
I may be older, but I am not dead, and I will continue to give these kids the kind of father they need in their lives. Living over 50 years teaches you a few things about life and a man is better able to be a good father when he has matured and realizes the value of his family.
Please, just shut the hell up, Karen!