I am not a handyman.
I’d probably hit my finger with a hammer instead of a nail, or else I’d put a hole in the wall. I’d cut pieces of trim too short, or uneven, assuming I didn’t cut off my finger first, and I’m more likely to pay a couple hundred dollars to have someone fix/build something for me instead of doing it myself for less than fifty bucks and very little time.
I’d like to say this is my dad’s fault, that he’s also a terrible handyman, but it’s actually the exact opposite: my dad’s a freakin’ genius when it comes to that stuff. He’s affectionately earned the nickname “Macgyver” around our family for his ability to tear stuff down and fix it with very little instruction. He’s a plumber, a contractor, and pretty much anything else he needs to be around the house.
I’m more of a Mr. Magoo around the house. I can usually build stuff (bookcases, tables, etc.) that you buy in the store, but that comes with instructions. I’m terrible at measuring, and always have been. And while being Mr. Fix-It never interested me, I’ve realized in the last five years of being a homeowner that it’s something I should have taken more seriously way back when.
So when my wife(J), who has been struggling with work-related worries lately, texted me today and said “I feel like I’m failing us,” I knew exactly how she felt.
Aside from not being the handyman for her I wish I could be, I’m also not the provider I hoped to be growing up. I know a lot of men who work their 9-5 job, and it’s enough to cover expenses for the entire family. They’re able to save money, take nice vacations, and their wives are able to stay at home as well, or only have to work part time jobs. While we do have some money in the bank, have nice cars, and are not scrimping month-to-month, I’ve also wished I could do more for her.
But here’s the thing: she’s not failing us. She works hard, comes home, cooks a meal, and still has enough energy to keep our son (E) entertained. She’s patient with him when I am not, and she can always make him smile. It’s no wonder he’s a “momma’s boy” right now, and I can’t truly be jealous or upset about it.
J would only be failing us if she stopped trying, which I know she never will. If she stopped working hard, at work or at home, then it would be failing. If she stopped loving me, or stopped being the wonderful mother she is, then she would be failing us.
And as hard as it is for me to admit, I realized that I, too, am not failing our family. I work hard at my job, and I do the housework around here that I can, even though I don’t feel it’s ever enough.
What it comes down to is: we all have shortcomings. We have insecurities about ourselves that we wish we could change because we want to do more for our loved ones. But as long as we never stop trying, we are never truly failures.
I will never stop trying for my family, and I know J will never stop trying either. Shortcomings aside, as long as we stick together, we’ll never be stronger than we are right now.
And as long as you don’t stop, you will never fail either.
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