I grew up with a brother and two sisters. The six of us were always together. I never knew any other way. I was confused about how I should feel when my older sister got married and my older brother left for college. We were down to just four. I didn’t know if I should’ve been happy for them, or sad that we seemed to be splitting apart. Soon there after, my younger sister and I left too. We were still a family, but we’d grown into a family of families.
My wife, Patt, and I were married eight years before our first child was born. We refer to those as our single years. We now have 3 daughters. We’d always talked about having three kids. It was tough for us in the beginning. We resorted to a fertility specialist, but it still took six years before we had our second. Fortunately, our third came a short two years later. I went through a slow transition from the self-absorbed and confused kid watching my family dwindle down, to where I am today.
I started out just concerning myself with the obvious. It took many years before I looked beyond the daily necessities. That was never quite fulfilling. Once while helping one of my kids with homework, she asked, “Why do you have such an angry tone?” I’d always been able to give my kids an answer, but this time I had none. Patt also expressed concerns that memories of me would always be associated with an angry tone. I knew the fulfillment I was seeking had to be there, but it always seemed just beyond my reach.
Just before our twentieth anniversary Patt gave me that final push that solidified my understanding of my purpose. We were talking about where we were in our lives, what makes us happy. She said, “My happiness comes from the success and joy you and the girls experience.” This opened up the rest of the world for me. I realized I had been heading just enough off course to where the fulfillment would elude me if I continued. I adjusted and started to carve out this enlightened reality.
Over the next 7 years I changed my primary focus solely to my family. Don’t get me wrong. They’ve always been important to me. Throughout my career there were multiple instances where my supervisor tried to convince me that my focus needed to be my career. My response was always, “my family comes first.” I was mostly on course all along. I occasionally revert to that unfulfilled former self, but when I look for that missing piece – I always find it in my family. This I believe to be my destiny. To always be there for my wife, help our girls realize their full potential, and help them grasp what’s taken me more than 49 years to fully realize. Happiness comes from within – happiness comes from your family. Thanks Patt.
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