Be Your President -Ben Partain

The early 90’s for me was a time of great discovery. Fatherhood was  priority, however, work protested; My Mother was elderly and sick and no son wants to overlook the person who gave them life, raised them and provided everything. A wife is understanding but also wants her time and relief from all the things she contends with on a daily basis. Talk about being pulled in a myriad of directions, WHEW. I fancy myself to be a decent multi-tasker but one comment from Rhonda changed my attitude and direction of my life and I think of it every single day…still.

It had been a particularly trying day at home, Rhonda raised our 2 girls and I was the bread winner, working every minute possible. Christa was 8 and inquisitive, always exploring and wanting to know just what the boundaries were pertaining to the household rules, her Mom commanded her to ask her questions when Dad got home, she questioned; “Why can’t YOU decide, Mom”? Rhonda’s answer: “Because Dad is the President”. This opened up another flood of questions but Mom declared God said so and that was the way it went until they each left the nest and began their respective marriages.

I got home that evening and was briefed on the days’ events and alerted to the fact I was now “President” I laughed at first and snarled “I’m President of nothing…not even me” then Rhonda let me know in no uncertain terms that I was in fact, just that….the Prez. I was the leader, the treasury, the referee, the diplomat and the one who administered justice when it all came down to it. I was opposed at first then I thought hmmm…I was already these things anyway now it has a name and a definition. I wanted to be fair but stern and yet have the wit of a great communicator.

Much like anyone who has had a lengthy life we’ve had some gut-wrenching events in our lives. The passing of family members and friends stand out most, we’ve had sickness and health and every one of our vows has been tested with the exception of “For richer” I’m sure we’re typical and not deserving of a medal, its life…what happens. I was informed I was President for life and as long as I was the patriarch I’d always retain the role, I never believed this until recently: My daughter called one morning at 4:00 am, her Father in Law had just passed and she was crying uncontrollably, inconsolable. Rhonda handed me her phone and said “Time to be President”

I’ve relished the part over my life; it’s been difficult but rewarding and further enhanced now with the blessing of Grandchildren. Our nest is empty now so we share in decisions with great duality; my duties are now greatly reduced but in times of difficulty and stress the role is once again thrusted on me and I do the best I can to stabilize the ship and be a force of calming and common sense. A word of caution, though: If , for example, you ever come home and find out you’ve been “Inaugurated” take it seriously, it lasts a lifetime.


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