Thursday, July 9, 2009

The 12th Day

In the twelve days since we left home, every one has been full. Travel, farm, backyard play, holiday, birthday, weekend, new friend, library, park, even a side road trip. Every moment not consumed by events has been stimulated by the novelty of Gramma's toys and Papa's pile of sticks.

For a change of pace, today we did nothing.

"Nothing" still includes the park and a bike ride. But the fact that the kids had time and the attention span to watch a movie twice indicates there was a little more time today for boredom to nibble at the corners and sneak its way into their hearts.

As I was tucking the kids into bed, Boo's eyes began to leak. She shrugged it off: It's so weird, sometimes I get water in my eyes, and then it goes away!

I regarded her intently, putting my sluggish intuition together with her earlier comment, I wish I had more friends, I have one friend here and only a couple friends in Texas. And because I have this work ethic that demands I take the hard road in a difficult situation, I blurted out, Do you miss Daddy?


The waterworks began more seriously now, but instead of her usual loud sobbing, she crumpled into her pillow. Of course, on this slow day my kids feel the weight of being separated from their daddy. Of course, I had to talk it through with them and get it out in the open right at bedtime. Of course, she then had trouble falling asleep.

Tonight I am sad for my Boo Bear, Daddy's girl to the core. Being separated from him is the big emotional price tag for this vacation for all of us.

Ten minutes after I said final prayers and left their room, sweet Rooster crept downstairs. He peered around the corner into the room where I sat, then stepped forward and shared, Sister told me she wishes she could talk to Daddy. Can you come help her talk to Daddy?

What a good brother.

Unfortunately, I had just spoken with the Captain a few minutes earlier and knew his talking window was over for awhile. So I went up and sat with my bold child, the one who is forever driving me crazy while laughing hysterically at something; and I stroked her arm for awhile, and pondered.

When this girl flails deeply in the grip of normal childhood behaviors, perhaps she holds so fiercely to the laughter because without it she would cry. Perhaps she already knows that her strength is also her shield against life's disappointments.

This gem in the rough of a child gets all the best of what I have to offer as a person and a parent. She is my firstborn, and the strongest personality of the kids. She reminds me partly of me, and partly who I always wished I could be.

And I resolve once again to know my child better, so I can be whatever necessary to help her grow.

Tomorrow is the 13th day of our vacation. I like the number 13, it's my birth day and a nice prime number. May day 13 bring me an opportunity to draw my boisterous child near to me, and see if just loving on her might help her calm down.

Maybe I'll help her throw another duck.


  1. What an awesome and powerful post? I think we all wish you were our mom after reading this.

  2. I got "water in my eyes", too from reading this. My water came from tenderness and laughter though. Tongue-in-cheek though it may have been, I think you *should* go help her throw another duck.


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