Sometimes you do the right thing and end up being wrong.
It happened last night.
Over the last few weeks my daughter and I have developed a little game. I probably shouldn’t say we, because our little girl came up it on her own, and created all the simple rules. She also initiated first contact.
The game is very simple, really.
When our bedtime routine nears its natural conclusion; when the teeth are clean and the bladder rests empty, she turns to me with arms wide open and invites me to carry her. I carry her to her room, where we sing songs and exchange a few warm hugs.
At first, she would ask me ever so quietly, and with a beaming smile. Later on, she became a little mysterious and only hinted at her desired request. Either way, over the last few weeks, each, and every night, this has become a treasurable familial moment.
Recently, her older brother was not well and I took pity upon him. I started caring him to bed as well, despite his girth and size. My mind flashed ahead and I dreaded what I knew was coming next. This wonderful experience was bound to turn into a competition, like everything else does when our children are involved.
I thought quickly and devised the perfect solution. Since I carried my daughter to bed the night before, I decided to carry my son last night, and told my daughter that I love them both, and they would both get a turn. Each, and every evening, I would make each child happy, while at the same time, picking no favourite.
A half an hour after we said our goodnights, I heard a little voice summon me to her room, and I suddenly realized that she had been crying the entire time. I didn’t hear her. I didn’t anticipate her tears and she didn’t want to wake her brother, so she called the best she could.
When I saw her, she was red faced, and full of tears. She was sad about something, but it was difficult for me to understand why. Then suddenly, I knew.
I was wrong.
Equality works in theory but it mucks things up when faced with special bonds between people.
For my son, this was a moment of equality. He simply wanted his share of the attention that was showered upon his sister. To my daughter however, this was the end of a special dance she thought up and looked forward to with her daddy.
I sit here a little heartbroken this morning, because I cannot turn back the time or unwipe her tears.
I can only face tonight and tomorrow.
I will resume our little game, and punch equality in the mouth.
This sweet little creature that shapes me daily and has the heart of a Saint, continues to teach me, each, and every day. I wish this wasn’t a lesson I had to learn. Lessons are never pleasant, but I think this one will serve me well.
Some things are not meant to be equal. Sometimes we get back more than we can give.
Sometimes you have to know the game you’re playing.
Play it well and don’t muck things up.