I failed, I cried, but I’m not a bad dad.

I’m writing this down in the event that I forget it, not because I want to remember it, but because I might need to remind myself that it happened at all.

I failed — again — at getting Gorgonna to go back to sleep. To our dismay, she had been waking up several times during the night all week long. Tonight’s was the worst yet — a 3 AM pealing scream that undid the one-hour spell of sleep I’d been under since the last time she’d woken up. But her cries were not just the usual wordless wailing — they had a want behind them, a desire. And my failure to grant her that desire is what broke me.

Oh, I broke all right. I unleashed a monsoon from my eyes tonight. My wife, bless this woman who has chosen to spend her life with such a neurotic, confidence-lacking man-child, is out on the couch with Gorgonna under what I hope is a million blankets because damn, is it cold for California right now.¬†And I’m here, snuggled under the covers in our queen-sized bed, the cats curled up next to my hips and ankles, the soft glow of the WordPress window the only light around. Find someone who’d do for you what my wife does for me, and never let them go, man.

You see, “Momma” is ultimately what Gorgonna wanted, although that isn’t what got me a-weepin’. I’m used to her choosing Mom’s lap over mine, Mom’s soft embrace over my bony-armed wrap. I’m probably like hugging a thornbush, so I can’t blame her there. No, what got my tear ducts working overtime was Gorgonna’s cries for one very specific thing:

“Go-go.” Goldfish. Fucking Pepperidge Farms Goldfish.

These are her special snack that are, admittedly, not that special since she gets them several times a day. Goldfish became her first outward sign of brand loyalty, as she would prefer them over other, more healthy snacks. She could pick out the few crackers nestled at the bottom of her snack cup, the ones hidden beneath a veritable mountain of whole oat, heart disease-preventing Cheerios. That’s dedication.

“That” is also what caused me to bawl my eyes out at 3 AM. I’m not exactly sure why it brought out such an intense reaction, but I just kept imagining Finn’s face on that white and orange box as the sole cause of my problem tonight. How was I supposed to give Gorgonna what she wanted? I already have enough of a moral dilemma feeding her goldfish during the day — the fuck was I supposed to do about her wanting them at night? Cry, apparently.

I don’t think it was exactly the right thing to do, but it’s what happened. That’s a recurring theme here at Mostly Metal Dad, the whole “I know this is how things are supposed to work, but here’s how they’re going down tonight.” From feeding to sleeping to teaching her how to brush her teeth, the daily acts of child-like information rarely go the way they’re supposed to. And I guess sometimes that wears on me.

I need to remember failure. Because what I’m identifying isn’t really failure, more trial and error. But because my mind keeps labeling it that way (the way I keep labeling Mortichnia black metal when they’re really more post-black metal (oh, yay, a metal reference!!)), I may as well call it as I see it. So, yeah. Failure.

Failing sucks, but it will happen a lot more before I’m ready to feel comfortable about it. I may have some rough, stormy nights like this one, while others will be smooth sailing. At the end of the day (or night, as it’s now almost 4:30), the most I can do is remember the sweet, supportive wife I have and the daughter who, despite having some outlandish wants that I know are only just beginning, deserves everything wholesome and good in this world, and even some bad, like goddamn Pepperidge Farm fucking Goldfish.

I would try to turn water into wine and fish into bread to give her what she wants. Maybe I should turn Goldfish into whole wheat multi-grain toast.

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