Sunday night, while folding laundry at the dining room table, I started thinking about dad-like things I had done over the weekend. I was going to make it a Facebook status, but there were too many things.
It meant replacing the batteries in a hide-and-seek rabbit, changing a mushy diaper, buying fruit and milk and toys at the grocery.
It meant not buying all the toys, holding a baby girl with a boo-boo in my arms while she lay her head on my shoulder, it meant singing “Jump” by Patty Shukla over and over while my daughter jumped on her bed, my bed and the guest bed.
It also meant singing the Barney theme song and “Amazing Grace” on demand for a demanding daughter, it meant sharing every meal with my toddler because it’s just more fun to eat off Daddy’s plate and it meant playing peek-a-boo while folding aforementioned laundry.
It meant falling asleep after baby’s bed time because you’re tired and you better believe the clock is ticking once she’s down.
It meant waking from a dead sleep to a cry of ‘Mommy!’ at 5:30 a.m. It meant staying in bed until 6:44 a.m. while my family lay beside me. It meant cooking bacon and chocolate chip pancakes for two very appreciative girls.
It meant sneaking off for an hour of work and wishing I was with those girls. It meant coaxing and prompting a 19-month-old to say her own name (a mouthful for people decades older than her) and marveling at what sounded like my daughter counting to nine (look, I know I heard six, seven, eight).
It meant trying to explain that no, we don’t jump on the cat because it hurts the cat. It meant saying, for the 457th time, please crawl on the couch, don’t run. It meant staying away from the computer until nap and bed times because otherwise it meant fighting a toddler who doesn’t understand that computers aren’t just for Patty Shukla videos.
It meant listening to my (pregnant) wife cry in the other room because she was so sad from the recent school shooting. It meant looking at the pictures of the children that died and seeing that they aren’t much older than my daughter. It meant discussing what my wife, a teacher, would do if a school shooting occurred. It meant telling her, please, if something were to happen, protect yourself and our unborn baby boy.
It meant taking a minute to write to my daughter. It meant hugging that daughter and really appreciating that moment and hoping that many more like it would follow.