My daughter gave me a special gift today. She didn’t even know it.
I have kid pick-up duty this week. As any Good-Bad Dad understands, Mom usually does this better than me. Needless to say, it’s been a roller-coaster ride so far.
On the first day, I was late. Today I was way too early. On both days, I complained aplenty – damn rushing around, damn midday work interruption, damn steamy walk to the meet-up spot, damn slow walking kids! Damn, I can’t wait to get through this week!
I felt that way until my chatty, cheerful 7 year-old changed my state of mind.
When I tried to hurry the kids along toward home, Vivi forced me to stop abruptly. She saw a frog crossing our path and stopped to allow it to continue to hop along. She explained that the frog would be okay. He just needed to get back to the creek, she said – far away from the busy trail we were traveling on.
I winked at her to inch her onward. Her giggle and shoulder shrug were indelible.
On our ride home, she turned down the radio so she could tell me about the lesson her class learned today. “We learned about why Bradley gets to ride in a wheelchair,” she proudly stated. She was quite impressed that his wheelchair was so cool and used “a lot of technology.”
I asked Vivi if she’d been curious about Bradley before. She responded, “Not really. I just knew he was a really nice boy.” Her smile and shoulder shrug were genuine and cheerful.
Finally arriving back home after our “Daddy mixed-up-pick-up” adventure, as the impending tropical storm dumped rain overhead, Vivi’s unintentional generosity continued.
Readying myself for the dash toward the door, I looked skyward, “It’s pouring! Just my luck!”
I quickly threw open my door, thrust ajar the van’s side door, grabbed the infant seat and gasp, “Let’s go!”
Now safely in the comforts of the garage, I looked back to see that Vivi hadn’t followed my lead. Her head quickly popped out of the van’s side door, then back into the van, then back out into the rain.
“Dad, I can’t shut the door!” I could tell by her tone that she was trying to act concerned while secretly holding back laughter.
I shrugged my shoulders, gave a sigh and ran back to the open door. I leaped into the now-soaking-wet van interior. Vivi looked at my water-logged clothes and rain-soaked hair. She laughed vivaciously.
I fought to hold onto my frustration but caved into a giggle myself.
“Dad?” Vivi asked, “Will this count as my shower?”
Our laughter did not allow for me to answer.
Finally returning to my computer, I felt like a different dad than the one that hurriedly left just twenty minutes before.
Freshly etched in my mind were three memories from our short trip home:
- Vivi’s care for a frog I wouldn’t have otherwise noticed
- her adoration for a classmate that I’d previously felt sorry for
- the sunlight her giggles radiated through the driving rain
Even if only for a few minutes, I was changed for the better.
The view from my daughter’s vantage point was glorious. I should take it in more often.