I was born and raised in a loving house and instilled with the belief that I could accomplish all I set my mind to do. I'm not sure I fully comprehended or believed what those words meant. As a single father of soon-to-be 5-year-old twin girls, I am raising them with love so that they can love and accept love; teaching them the power of self-love and human kindness and the importance of inner strength and self-confidence. I'm far from a perfect parent, but these are the things are try to do and instill in them. Being a perfectionist -- and a "type - A" Capricorn, I apologize for the redundancy -- I beat myself up when I think I have fallen short of the goals I set for myself as a parent. My mom used to say, "there aren't any manuals on parenting." As my girls approach their fifth birthday (can't believe they've been in my life for five years), I realize that I am not a "perfect" parent. I, like every parent in the universe, make mistakes. My patience is sometimes tested; the decibels of my voice are sometimes higher than they should be; and I am, at times, overly-consumed by work email.
I have learned that children are very forgiving. To their credit, they don't hold onto negative energy for any extended period of time. Last night, after a long, exhausting weekend, I put the girls to bed. It was a rough weekend for me -- full of work stress in particular. I was not at my parental best and I knew it. Once they were down, I attempted to do some work. I was consumed with guilt about how I perceived I had not given them girls my A game. I couldn't wait for 6:30 to come this morning (their wakeup time). I crawled into Emilia's bed first and took her around. Still half asleep, she put her arm around me and I told her how much I loved her. She whispered she loved me too. I responded, "I am really sorry I was a little grumpy this weekend." To which she responded, "Daddy, no you weren't," and went back to bed clutching me. I then got into Francesca's bed and told her the same thing. Without responding, she just wrapped her arms around me really tight and said, "Daddy I love you so much!"
The importance of this parental moment transcends the particulars of this past weekend. As parents, we think that with respect to our children, we are the learned -- we are the teachers. I would argue that I have learned more about myself and about the world around me through Emilia and Francesca's eyes. They have taught me to love in the most pure, unequivocal way. They have taught me the power of forgiveness and the importance of stopping to see and smell the roses. Seeing the world through their eyes gives me hope for a brighter today and tomorrow. I am so blessed to have Emilia and Francesca in my life. After reading this, I want you to make a point to give your children a little extra special hug and tell them how much you love them. Children really are a blessing and are put on this earth to teach, love and inspire us.