My daughter is having a hard morning. It began with the moderate joy of feeding her new betta fish, “Rainbow,” all by herself. Rainbow is beautiful, but not as much fun to watch as Goldi, Goldy, or Silver – Livi’s first three goldfish. Goldi came from Wal-Mart, and never even made it out of the plastic bag. We rescued Goldy from Petsmart, and she was a joyful, bubbly goldfish until she wasn’t, and we brought her back to Petsmart for a more alive version. Enter the goldfish named Silver. Silver did great, until my son’s goldfish “Rocket” tasted her pretty little fan tail and developed a cannibalistic tendency that led to her ultimate demise.
So, this morning, I should have expected a troubled mind from my grieving first-born. She fed Rainbow, and then started whining about her morning list.
“I don’t want to do my stuff!”
Whining gave way to stomping, then crying, and this is a job for SuperDaddy. I go in, I invite her onto my lap, I direct my nappy sock and garbage breath away from the tormented child, asking probing and thoughtful questions, affirming her and listening more than talking. While massaging her little hands, I talk to her about prayer, and she spits exasperation with not seeing God and not hearing him. I agree that it is hard to understand, and ask her to trust me for the time being, that God hears her and loves her.
Things seem to be going well, until it is time to leave my lap and get back to the stuff she was avoiding. Teeth, hair, shoes, etc… Crying resumes. I escort her to the bathroom and close her inside, and crying turns to wailing and hyperventilating. This is a hard business. Time for Mom.
Mom says,”Livi, we’re leaving in 10 minutes.” And though the wailing increases, the stuff is now getting done.
I’ve been played like a cheap harmonica.
Miraculously soon, my daughter meets me in my office and is dressed and ready for her piano lesson (the last of the stuff). I suggest an easy song. She wants to play the hardest one (a song called “Donkey”). We finish up with a melody game and a kiss on the head, she pulls on her backpack and slips out the door with my wife.
“Bye Daddy! I love you!”