Four years ago my son celebrated his first Father’s Day.
Can I tell you how proud I am of my son’s parenting abilities?
No. No I can’t. I’m not sure I have the words to do my feelings justice.
But I can write about the time I was lucky enough to witness a very tender moment between my son and his daughter that showed me she will have the daddy that every little girl wants, needs, and deserves.
My son (El) had been away from home for about a month on job business. My granddaughter (Ess), who was not yet three at the time, missed him terribly, but she handled his absence very well; the kid’s a trooper. When El returned home, Ess understandably wanted to be the center of his attention, but the well-adjusted kid she is, she wasn’t clingy or whiny at all. When he visited with other family members, she played next to him, often asked him to read to her, or happily sat in his lap, enjoying the chance to have him physically near.
At one point, El was sitting on the floor, deep in conversation with his father—some technical computer discussion, I’m sure. But his attention had been completely off of little Ess for entirely too long. She had been sitting contentedly in his lap, but she began to fidget. The conversation went on. She kept turning and looking up at El, but he still was not noticing. She squirmed out of his lap and sat on the floor facing him, cross-legged, gazing right into his face. Still nothing but techno-blab between El and his father.
Ess could stand his inattention no longer, so she did the most amazing thing. In a beautiful, clear voice, she sang, “Twinkle, twinkle little star! How I wonder what you are!” She sang the entire song very deliberately, very slowly, perfectly in tune, and without taking her eyes off her father’s face. She sang it as if everything depended on it.
El’s reaction was to stop talking in mid-word. He looked back at her with astonishment. He was entranced by his daughter’s song.
And when she finished singing, he scooped her up in his arms, told her what a beautiful voice she had, how much he loved her song, and what a wonderful and appropriate way she had found to get his attention. He spent the next half-hour playing with her, saturating her with “Daddy time” until she wandered off to play by herself for a little while. El’s father and I really didn’t exist to either of them in that half-hour. The techno-conversation ended with my son’s mid-word, and I don’t think it was picked up again that day. All was as it should be.
THAT is a Father, a Pop, a Daddy, a Papi, a Dad. That was the reaction every little girl should get from her father. Ess is a lucky kid, and I am so thankful she has Bee and El as parents. They are the best!
Happy Father’s Day, my boy. You are doing an amazing job.