From Chicken Soup for the Father & Son Soul

Morning Peace

It’s never too late to be what we might have been.

George Eliot

As I sit here watching my two little boys sleep, tears well up in my eyes: tears of joy, pain, pride, hardship, and sacrifice. I am reminded of the obstacles I had to overcome. Most of my youthful goals were preoccupied with making money, and with creating an image of who I wanted others to see. That all changed a year ago when I quit my job and took an easier, lesser-paying, lower-status, more-time-at-home job.

I was becoming everything I had wanted to be, and yet deep down I knew if I continued on that road I would end up being nothing to my wife or children. In my profession I saw a lot of single mothers rearing children without fathers. Sometimes I’m embarrassed for my sex—men who have abandoned their children and the women who love and need them.

But I was heading down this same path, thinking that by working more, I would be providing better for my family. I was unconsciously leaving them behind. Then one day we were all in our car on a mountainous, curvy road when an oncoming, out-of-control, fully loaded fuel truck came over the ridge and crossed uncontrolled into our lane. A pullout just happened to be at the very spot we were. Along most of that road was either a cliff or a mountainside, but here was this pullout I could steer into, allowing the semi to roll past us in our lane. For some reason, we were spared that day.

Sometime during that week I realized that I had spent too many years searching for the wrong things. I had everything I ever needed right here: an incredible wife who loved me and two children who thought I was Superman.

Sitting here, watching them sleep, I realize I have made peace with my ambitions. I no longer yearn for a fast motorcycle, an exciting, dangerous career, an image of wealth and accomplishment based on material goods. No, I’m quite happy being Dad.

I left that fast-paced career and went back to my old, safe, monotonous job. I have a lot more time with my wife and kids now, and I still struggle to get along sometimes, to communicate instead of yell, to talk instead of accuse. But I’ve finally made peace with it all, and it feels so good to sit here and finally be able to cry, because I know now that I have the greatest responsibility a man can ever have. I have the responsibility of being a husband and a father, and I love that.

Andy Radujko

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