Wednesday, June 6, 2012

June 6: Tiny Tim, Bandages, Parent Moment

"Spirit!" said Scrooge, with an interest he had never felt before, "tell me if Tiny Tim will live."

This moment is the first in the entire novel where Scrooge expresses any interest in the fate of another person.  Before he asks the Ghost of Christmas Present this question, he pretty much has one primary concern:  Ebenezer Scrooge.  Now we have him worried over Bob Cratchit's sickly child as if he, himself, were Tim's father.

I had a moment last night with my daughter that I think all parents, at one point or another, have with their children.  I was saying prayers with my daughter in her bedroom.  She was nearly asleep.  She looked up at me and said, "I love you, Daddy, more than anything in the whole world."  Then she closed her eyes and went to sleep.

As I sat on the edge of her bed, staring down at her, I felt this tsunami of emotion building in me.  I can't really categorize it as happiness or sadness, joy or fear.  It was a mixture of all those things.  But I had one very clear thought in this storm:  I don't ever want to leave this little girl.  I actually thought about my death, and my daughter growing up without me being there.  It depressed me.  The very thought of me not being able to shield her from life's slings and arrows filled me with a terrible melancholy.  I lingered in the darkness of my daughter's bedroom, wrestling with myself.  I wanted to reach over and pick my eleven-year-old daughter up like I used to when she was two or three.  I wanted to cradle her in my arms.

I know I can't protect my daughter from every bump and pothole she will encounter on the road.  That wouldn't be realistic or even healthy.  We all learn from our mistakes.  My daughter will learn from her mistakes, from all the hurts she will have to endure.  Thank goodness my daughter is a stronger, more independent individual than I am.  I'm codependent.  I'm over-protective.  I'm over-indulgent.  I'm a lot of other things, as well.  But I'm not my daughter's savior.  Another Person claimed that title about two thousand years ago.

The most I can be for my daughter is a supportive father.  I will stand and clap for her at dance recitals.  I will help her write book reports and essays.  I will let her cry on my shoulder when her first love breaks her heart.  I will put bandages on her skinned knees.  I will help her pick up the pieces when her life falls apart.  I will let her know she is, and always will be, loved.

Saint Marty is standing by, Kleenex and Band-Aids in hand.

Saint Marty and his little girl

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