Striking a Balance


“You’ve no appreciation of what I am trying to do for this family!”

Joseph was working his way to the top of his stress threshold. Kate almost decided to retreat before things got out of hand, but her tendency toward brinksmanship prevented her.

“Joe, this family needs a father! I understood when you agreed to manage that business out of bankruptcy, but you’ve done that now and own it. Then you had to become the best sports man in town. I understood that too, you needed to counterbalance long office hours. Now you’re away from the family most of the time with your sports competitions, precious committees, and …”

“Kate, you’re the unhappiest person I’ve met. I checked with you before becoming involved in community work. Everyone tells me how glad they are I represent them at City meetings. The city would be worse off if I were not there to set the City committees straight. You’re the only one who seems to be unhappy with my involvement.”

“Good old Joe, the saviour of the community! What about your children?  It would be a good thing if you used some of your energy on them before they grow up and leave home. How do you expect them to relate to you when they grow up if you’ve no time for them now?”

“Excuse me, did you say no time? What about the fishing trip last weekend? I schedule the Easter trip to the beach every year, and the Christmas trip to the beach too. You really like to exaggerate!”

“Come on Joe, be honest! OK, the fishing trip was great, but you’re out playing tennis while the kids romp around the beach with me Easter and Christmas.”

“That’s not fair Kate, I need to have some personal recreation once in a while.”

“Yes you do Joe, I do too! What I’m trying to tell you is you have a tendency to go overboard in whatever you do. Now you’re a candidate for election to State Legislature. You come home at midnight from meetings now. How on earth are you going to handle that job, if you get elected? We hardly get to see you now!”

“What rubbish! Why do you think I am doing all this? So my family can hold their heads up in this community and have recognition.”

“Face the facts Joe. You’re proving a point because your father abandoned his family when you were a boy, and …”

“Typical Kate! I married you because I thought you had a heart and would give me lifelong support. It was humiliating to have to almost beg your family for your hand in marriage. They were prejudiced against me …

“That’s not true!”

“Yes, they were prejudiced before and after our marriage because my father abandoned us, and my mother had to work as an usher in a theatre to support the four of us. I’ll prove to your family that a boy from a broken home has ambition, and can provide well for his family.  Now you …”

“Not the point! I’m saying you don’t spend enough time with your family. That’s a fact! Because you work hard, and take on all kind of other activities you’re prevented from being a father to your children. Have you grown tired of me?”

“Not tired of you, but I’m tired of you constantly harping on this subject. Do I beat you or the children? No! You have a beautiful home full of the latest gadgets, are fed, clothed, and have community respect.”

“Joe, we’d give all that up for your time. I am harping, because I love you and want to spend more time with you. The children need you, and miss you when you’re away too.

Joe was shaking with frustration and anger, and Kate’s heart melted as she watched the distress on his face. She gently reached out and took his hand, squeezing it in reassurance.

“I love you,” she whispered. “I want more of you.”

Joe’s face contorted with emotion, eyes filled with tears.

“I know.” He ruefully wrapped his arms around Kate, squeezing her passionately. “I do have hang ups that have driven me into this corner. I need space to find a way out of the mess I’ve created. Love me Kate, I need you.”

“I do, I will”, she whispered

“© Copyright Ian Grice 2015 All rights reserved”

The cartoon above is copyright to

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