I’ve had a giant realization over the past few days and I’m sad about it for more than one reason. On Monday, I woke Addie up in the morning so she could start getting ready for school. The kid looked miserable. After we ate breakfast together, she admitted that she didn’t feel very good.
My initial thought was, “Oh crap, I don’t want to get sick again, why do these kids get sick so often?” Then my thought quickly changed to, “I hope she doesn’t have the cough I’ve been stuck with for the past two months—the last thing I need is another doctor’s bill.”
Later that day I came home to see a very red and sad looking Addie. Her sickness had gotten worse and she had a fever that was so high that her face turned red and it looked like her little body could heat the house on a cold day.
The next day I went through the same routine and woke Addie for school. When I saw that her face was STILL red, I told her to go back to bed and to get some more sleep. Later on I would learn that Addie sneaked out to the bus stop because she didn’t want to miss school. (Geez, how do you not reward that attitude with a bowl of ice cream?)
Yesterday I finally convinced Addie to stay home so she could get some extra sleep and hopefully recover from whatever bug that worked its way into her system.
Each evening while Addie has been sick, I’ve become aware of just how reliant I am on Addie, and it makes me sad.
When I was growing up, nothing bothered me more than when my mom and dad used me as their own little fetch tool. Cody, go get me a screwdriver. Cody, go get me a can of olives from the fruit room. Cody, grab me a hammer from the garage. And on and on and on it went. I wasn’t supposed to be their personal servant.
Ultimately, I’ve realized I’ve become my own worst nightmare—well, maybe not my worst nightmare, the Mothman is still out there. I use Addie to get me all kinds of ridiculous things. Addie, go get me a tissue. Addie, run grab me a diaper and a pair of jammies. Addie, run upstairs and get my Ipod. Addie, will you go get my good pair of everyday Nike shorts? And on and on and on it goes. Even though she’s sick and I need to let Addie rest as much as possible, I still have that immediate urge to call for her to be my little personal servant and it makes me sad that this is the sum total of most of my interactions with her at night.
I’ve also noticed that when I spend time with Addie at home, it’s not nearly as kind and loving as it needs to be. Most of the time we play little games that involve me throwing rubber blocks at her as she runs as fast as she can to the other side of the house. While the kid loves these games, I don’t spend much time with her sitting down reading books or playing with the toys that she loves.
There are so many things that I could be doing with her to give her the personal attention she deserves, but I have been failing in that aspect as a father. I’d love to say that this little awakening is going to solve all of the problems and turn me into the perfect father, but I’m sure there will be many bumps and failures along the way.
The best I can do is make a decision to give my curly haired girl the one-on-one personal attention she deserves. And I won’t use her as a personal servant nearly as often as I was before.
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