I like to think that I do a good job of keeping my work at work. A 45-60 minute commute helps clear my mind before I arrive home. But occasionally work spills over into family life.
That’s exactly what happened on Friday.
What should have remained a minor misunderstanding turned into voices being raised. I had many opportunities to put an end to it. Instead I continued to fan the flames until a small issue had escalated into an argument in front of the kids. In the car. Where they could hear every single word.
I couldn’t have botched the situation any worse than I did. I could see it in Kim’s eyes. They said, “Why won’t you drop it?”
Sometimes how something is said carries more weight than what’s said. Yet I didn’t realize it at the time. I kept harping. Wouldn’t let it die. More gasoline on the fire.
I looked straight ahead as I drove. My eyes were on the road, but my mind was elsewhere. Kim was silent. And probably stunned that I came home in such a bad mood on a Friday of all days.
As I’m about to turn around and head back home, I hear the voice of Anna, our 5-year old daughter.
“Dad, you need to talk to mom in a nice voice. If you talk in a nice voice everything will be OK. I know you can do it.”
It took the words of my daughter to jolt me back into reality. I understood how unkind I’d been to Kim in front of four little sponges before being taken to task by a little girl who sleeps with a bed full of stuffed animals.
But on this night, that little girl acted more like an adult than her dad. I’m fortunate that fatherhood provides me many opportunities to redeem myself.