Okay, I admit it, I’m a smart ass. I will go into show off mode for Emily ever time she looks up at me with those deep brown eyes which say ‘please daddy!’ My heart melts away the armor that is there for every other person on the planet and I do whatever she asks.
Last week I had to give a 2 minute power point presentation at work. 6 slides and I, like the 3 people ahead of me we all read the slides to the audience, because as we all know, business audiences lose the ability to read when they enter a board room. I hated it. I would have rather had a tooth pulled by an komodo dragon using medieval dental tools – you know, the pliers that look like something they’d use on a locomotive than to stand there as a potential object of ridicule. Ah, but not so when it comes to Emily. Saturday, while shopping in Walmart I got down on one knee and sang her the theme song to The Flintstones, simply to see her face lighten into a radiant smile. Never mind the fact that there were other shoppers nearby. When it comes to Emily, the sky’s the limit.
The target soap bubbles floated above her head and though giddy whenever her mom unleashed a string of them into the air, not a one would survive long enough for Emily to touch. Each burst in succession and fell in a mist so light that they each evaporated before reaching the ground. To Emily, the joy and excitement of soap bubbles slowly began to change into sadness and frustration because the bubbles were for her, yet she could never possess them.
“Catch them Daddy!” she said as she twirled in a vortex of circles making the bubbles dance and disappear. “Catch them, pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” How do you tell a 3 year old about the impermanent nature of life?
Someday, Emily would have to come to grips with disappointment and lose. That day was not going to be today. I was bound and determined that today, I would catch an elusive soap bubble and prove once again – to myself mostly – that by making her happy was proof that I was a good father. Today. It wouldn’t be long before I’d disappoint her with something normal and rational as not allowing her to wear lipstick to kindergarten, or not being able to stay out late on a school night. I needed to put as many items on the ‘good dad’ side of the scale, cause I knew that they’re be plenty of stuff going on the ‘bad dad’ side as well.
I wetted my hand with the soapy solution and reached out to the first bubble and waited for it to alight on my hand. The instant contact was made; it burst, just like all the others. Then a second, and a third, and I stopped counting Emily’s mom was getting tired and so was my angel of a daughter. Finally I got one to land, and stay. I slowly lowered my hand to Emily’s eye level and when she saw the fragile iridescent orb floating on my hand, I knew I had succeeded. No one drew breath as Emily leaned toward the bubble and she watched the soapy film undulate in the service tension. With the deliberate movement of a ballerina, she reached toward the bubble with the cutiest index finger, poked the bubble causing it to splash micro droplets of soap in her face. She looked at me, and I at her, then we ourselves burst in to laughter.