During the crisis time, all of our children were married within the space of a year. The first wedding was while Dave and I were separated and it was bitter-sweet due to the way that he acted. Then our oldest married and included Dave in the wedding party.
Our youngest son’s wedding took place in our backyard where we hosted 300 people. It was quite an undertaking and was the first ‘project’ that Dave took an interest in after he came home. It seemed that it was something he could succeed at and he took joy in setting up a tent and chairs, filling the pool with balloons, and manicuring the yard to perfection. He even appeared to enjoy paying for our portion of the expenses. It seemed to be his return to the responsibility of fatherhood.
When our first grandchild was born, Dave did not even seem interested. I often placed the baby in his lap and after a few minutes he would return her to me. As she grew, he slowly warmed to her. Later on there were times when he seemed hurt that she ‘didn’t like him.’ I tried to point out that you must spend time with a child and show interest for them to feel comfortable with you. He began to try a little to build a relationship with the baby.
Another time, after attending a play, he commented to me about how our oldest son had done an excellent job. I told him that it would mean a lot for him to repeat the compliment to our son. That day at lunch, we were all together and Dave did just that. It might seem a small thing, but it was a big step for Dave. Small things like that were the baby steps that it took for Dave to become himself again.