I just got done with church a little while ago, and now I'm settling down to a day's work of grading and reading. Lots and lots of grading and reading. If that was all I had to do this week, I'd be in good shape. However, because I'm a contingent professor (a temporary, 23-year employee of the university), I also have a full-time job to worry about. I've said it before: if I were a tenured full-timer, I don't know what I'd do with all of the extra time I'd have.
My 15-year-old daughter is currently breathing down my neck because I am using my laptop. It is the only computer in our household, and she wants to play Minecraft with her friends. I can feel her stare drilling into the back of my head as I sit typing this post. She is also sighing a lot.
The sad thing is that my day isn't going to get much better after I'm done blogging. I will be moving from one pile of papers/exams to another. For the next week, that will be my life. I'm not complaining. I love teaching, and I love my daughter. They both drive me a little crazy sometimes. That's all.
Three years ago, I was preoccupied with my daughter, as well:
April 25, 2013: Your Prayers, My Daughter, Last Night
"Well. Go to sleep. Give Mother a kiss. Did you say your prayers?"
Holden's mother appears for a very short time at the end of The Catcher in the Rye. She's tucking Holden's little sister, Phoebe, in for the night. Even though, earlier in the novel, Holden says his parents aren't religious at all, Holden's mother asks Phoebe, "Did you say your prayers?" It's a casual question, like "Did you do your homework?" or "Did you brush your teeth?" Yet, it highlights a spirituality in the Caulfield home that Holden denies earlier.
Last night, I was pretty tired. Alright, I was friggin' exhausted. I was trying to make it through American Idol, and I simply couldn't do it. I surrendered to sleep at around 9:30 p.m. Some time later, my twelve-year-old daughter came bouncing into my bedroom and jumped into bed beside me, snuggling into my armpit.
"Daddy?" she said.
I jumped and, without opening my eyes, said, "What, sweetie?"
"Are you going to say prayers with me?"
I sort of grunted. I sleep with a mask on to blot out light. I could smell her hair, which was still wet from her shower. She uses a cherry blossom shampoo.
"Please, Daddy," she said. "You can say short prayers."
I've prayed with my daughter or for my daughter or over my daughter every day since her birth. We have developed a fairly complicated prayer routine, praying for family and friends, sick people, cousins, and teachers. We even pray for her pediatrician. Then we sing "Hush, Little Baby" three times to her. We finish it off with the "be-attitudes," starting "Be a good girl for Jesus, Mary, Joseph, you guardian angel, the king and queen angels, the duke and duchess angels, knight angels and worker angels..." The angel list goes on, developed in detail since my daughter was a toddler. It takes a good five to seven minutes if the prayer routine is performed in full.
I didn't have the energy for all the prayers last night, so I said short prayers, which is a truncated version of the standard prayers. General blessings for everybody. "Hush, Little Baby" once. And then the be-attitudes, skipping some of the lesser angels.
This morning, I read that little snippet of dialogue from Holden's mother, and I realized how blessed I am to have a daughter who wants to pray with me. My daughter can't go to sleep until we've gone through some ritual of blessing for the people in her life. She reminds me how important daily prayer is. It's not like brushing teeth for her. It's a completion thing. Her day isn't over until she has a few words with God.
This post may seem sentimental. I don't care. I'm proud of the fact that I have a prayerful, caring daughter.
It's one of Saint Marty's greatest blessings.
|I didn't say my daughter was perfect...|