Over the last couple of weeks I have spent a good deal of “alone time” with my daughters. Between family flying in to visit and an overnight trip out of town, my wife has taken some extra, much too infrequent, time away from the kids. While I am still convinced that my wife is especially gifted in taking on the world all at once, our trips were pretty low-key and a lot of fun for the four of us. Now, just to clarify, when I say “out” I mean multi-hour, multi-stop, and large crowds. I am not talking about a quick run to the store or a single stop at McDonald’s.
Okay mom’s, restrain your eye rolls for just a minute! I know this is a regular day at the office for you but the dad’s out there can attest to the fact that not often do we venture out unaccompanied like this. The striking thing for me was how baffled people were that I had the moxy to run around with three little girls, four years and under. Now I understand that this is not a common occurrence for me, but I really didn’t think too much of it until I started to get the comments. Between my wife’s bewildered gasps and the comments of a high school acquaintance who asked me, “Are you here alone with three girls”, and then turns to my daughters and says, “Wow you have a really good daddy”, it became apparent that I may have shaken the earth to its very core! To everyone’s amazement, not a single life was lost. In fact, there weren’t even any mystery wounds that I could not explain!
Now, I do have to come clean and say that not every second was stress free and I did have to subdue the urge to bang my head on the wall a couple of times. However, in all seriousness, it was a great time for us!
The tragedy here is what this says about the expectation that many have regarding fatherhood. We have run wild with this concept of quality over quantity, and let me attest to the fact that I have certainly fallen prey to this as well. This little unexpected conquest of mine has driven home the fact that the frequency of my time spent with my daughters is equally important to the quality of time. I want my girls to remember the special things that we do together because they were the norm, not because its easy to remember something when it happens only once or twice.
I just hope that my girls allow me to spend this kind of time with them in the years to come, even when “dad isn’t as funny or as cool as he used to be.” I guess I also hope that they aren’t too embarrassed at the arsenal of weapons that I will be carrying with me when they get to be dating age!