My Lighter Half
When we were kids, my dad used to take us sledding while my mom stayed home and made hot cocoa (now that I am a mom, my bet is she was probably watching tv or taking a bath). Nevertheless, we were gone, and it was special Daddy bonding time. Something we did with only our dad. And we loved every minute of it. But it was frigid, and we got cold, our clothes wet and our faces chapped.
I’ll never forget my then four year brother, Jeremy, crying
and saying that his face hurt from the cold.
Thankfully, my dad always had all the answers. “Don’t worry,” I remember him saying amidst
the masses of kids flying by us on inner tubes, “I brought ChapStick,” a
sparkle on his front tooth.
To most discerning adults, to most women, rather, this response might bring about a strange look. Possibly a question or two. But to my brother and me, it made perfect sense. I couldn’t be more proud of my father as he stood there smearing ChapStick all over my brother’s chapped cheeks. He always knew just what to do.
When we went home that afternoon and our mom gave out her routine kisses, she shot a strange look at my father. “His cheeks were chapped.” He shrugged, to which my mom only laughed.
I get it now. And thankfully, I married a similar version of a man. Whenever my husband dresses our daughter, he proudly brings her upstairs in her outfit grinning as if to say “Look what I picked out! Impressive, right?” And each time, for every outfit, he tucks Cora’s pants deep into her socks. So much so that half of her little legs are covered in sock, as the now Hammer-looking pants puff out the top. And of course he thinks nothing of it. Though it looks ridiculous, it makes me laugh every time. It’s endearing and I love it. My husband, as my father did, acts only for what is practical, no need to give a second thought to what is fashionable, what is proper, and what “should be.”
Maybe it’s not always a Daddy or a husband, but a brother, a friend, an uncle or even an aunt. Someone who lightens life with children up a bit. Without mine I’d be left over-scheduling, over-analyzing and over-planning to perfection, so much so that everything around me fell apart. And as I stood there throwing mini fits about how there is a stain on this or that, and how she was supposed to take a nap at 1:00 and it is 1:07, what the hell have you been doing? I would have no one to laugh at me and to remind me to laugh at myself. Thank goodness for my lighter half.