Thinking fondly of coffee

Friday, March 29, 2013

In conversations with readers it has not been uncommon for me to credit missing out on much of my daughter's childhood as an experience that equipped me with what I believe to be an inordinate amount of patience, pertaining to the complexities of parenting. Patience which I have foolishly prided myself on, and Declan has regularly tested the limits of.

Right about the time I start thinking "I got this Dad thing down," I am quickly humbled. Recently I received one of those wonderful reminders that patience is sometimes the hardest thing to come by.

The scenario, of course, began with an early morning conversation about the tying of Declan's shoes.

"Hurry up, we're going to be late again," I said as I attempted to untie the quadruple knot obviously cinched tight on Declan's left sneaker by Thor himself.

"That's because you untie my shoes too slow," Declan replied with his typical early morning flare.

"Declan," I paused for a deep breath and a slow exhale, "you need to learn to tie your own shoes. Watch how I do this."

"No! I can't, I tried and it's too hard!" he replied, his volume increasing and irritation at peak level.

"That was two years ago!" I shot back at him, unable to avoid my own volume increase. I calmed myself and began again, "It's time to try again buddy. Think of all the amazing things you have learned in the last two years, tying your shoes is nothing compared to learning to read."

"Yes it is, reading is easy. I can't do it, it's too hard," he replied, stubbornly looking away from his feet.

The conversation was going nowhere and in a few moments I had both of his shoes on and tied, so I began herding him out the door.

As I pulled out of our driveway I took another deep breath and thought fondly of coffee.

"What are you mad at?" Declan inquired from the backseat.

"What?" I replied, uncertain what he was referring to.

Declan imitated my exhale and said, "Whenever you do that you are mad at something."

I began to feel guilty, underestimating his ability to read my emotions.

"Nothing buddy, I'm just tired. We woke up too late and I don't like it when we're late. Today is going to be a great day, huh, look how sunny it is," I replied, attempting to put a positive spin on the morning.

It seemed to work and before we knew it we were unloading at his school. Declan smiled as he slung his backpack over his shoulder, realizing we had arrived at least a few minutes before the bell rang, which allowed for some play time with his friends.

His smile instantly washed away any of the early morning frustration that was lingering and I thought to myself, "You got this, we made it on time, what was all the worry about?" I think I may even have been strutting a little as we approached the playground.

I bent over to give Declan a kiss goodbye, unfortunately, just as he decided to jump over a patch of ice. The crown of his head slammed into my upper lip like a punch to the face and I could feel the morning frustration wash over me again.

Declan looked up with a laugh, rubbing the top of his head but finding more humor in the scenario than anything.

I did my best "that didn't hurt" impersonation, realizing that any number of local moms may have seen the exchange.

Declan and I said our goodbyes and I made my way back to the car. I sat silently for a few minutes, watching Declan frolic on the playground and nursing my sore gums and tooth.

Just before pulling away from the schoolyard, I took a deep breath and thought fondly of coffee.

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