My youngest daughter (she’s almost 8) said something this morning that was just so unexpected & heartbreaking at the same time I really wasn’t quite sure how to respond.
She was asking me questions about what type of work I did, how many hours a week I worked, how many hours each day. Didn’t think anything of it. Just general “Kid Small Talk”.
She says to me, “Daddy, don’t tell Mommy because it’s for Mother’s Day. We’re making something in school and it’s called ‘Mommy’s Hand’ and we’re supposed to write in it things that Mommy does for me.”
Ok. Fair enough. I can keep that secret.
Here’s where it got interesting.
“Yeah, Daddy - we’re supposed to write things in there that she does but I couldn’t think of anything. I know she braids my hair sometimes but she doesn’t give me hugs…”
Sure, when she said that she “couldn’t think of anything” my antenna went up a little and I cocked my head to the side while trying to formulate a lightning quick response to that. However, when she told me that she never got any hugs I think I actually blacked out for a second.
When I came back around she was still talking, “…she doesn’t give me any hugs and she doesn’t cook or anything”.
The only proper thing I could think to say at that moment was, “Well, don’t worry. I’m sure we can come up with something before Mother’s Day.”
Her response to that?
“Oh. We’re already done, Daddy. I just couldn’t think of anything to write. I wish it was Father’s Day.”
Ok. I naturally fall for this one. “Why is that, Bird?”
“Because, Daddy. I could finish one for you QUICK. You do my hair. And you give me hugs and kisses. And you make my lunch. And you cook me dinner. And you take me places. And you give me hugs and kisses.”
I composed myself for a second, walked over and gave her a big hug and a kiss and reassured her that we would think on it and come up with something for her project.
Granted, her mother is…well, one of a kind. That’s not the point. Then again, maybe it is.
You could ask any of my children today what their father thinks of them & what he does for them and they would proceed to give you a 3 hour lecture, complete with bar graphs and data analysis. Tell them to write down just ONE thing that Daddy does and they would write you a book. Now, I’m not tooting my own horn. Just trying to make a comparison.
The one thing that I have always done no matter what is show my children love. That’s one of the things that you’re supposed to do as a parent. That’s one of the things that should come naturally. Your child is not supposed to say that you never hug them or you never do anything for them. That’s your child. You helped create this little person. It’s your responsibility to show them certain things.
For me - to hear my child say that - Honestly, I still quite don’t know what to think or even say. I just had to let this out so it didn’t eat away at me for the rest of the afternoon.
So, for those of you that have kids please go right now & give them a hug. Smile. Plant a big sloppy kiss on their cheek. Tell ‘em you love ‘em. Make them feel special, because they are.
Make them feel wanted.