Maddie’s First “why” Question

Of my kids’ four knees, only one does not currently have a band-aid on it.  And that’s only because that particular scab is dry enough now.  Does this make me a good father, or a bad father?

We had a bittersweet milestone this week.

Things have been pretty good.  My work, my home, and my family’s health have all been fine.  I even come home at a decent hour, and try (though not always successfully) to put work behind me, and focus only on my family when I arrive.

We have a fun routine, too.  I come home, the family eats together, and we go out for a walk around three blocks, and come back to some fresh fruit.  After a little playtime, the bedtime routine starts.  But this one day, I was tired and had had enough of the kids running around like, well, little kids.  They were giggling and having a grand time.  But my fuse was short, and I was snapping at them at the slighted provocation.

Maddie asked me her first “why” question.

Why… Why are you not happy, Daddy?

It stopped me in my tracks for so many reasons.  I knew right there it was her first why question to me.  I appreciated the complexity of the question, too.  I appreciated the implication that my natural state should be happy.  And I appreciated the fact that my attitude bothered Maddie enough to formulate this kind of question for the first time.

I mostly snapped out of it.  I drew Maddie closer, gave her a big hug and told her that even though I wasn’t happy right now, I loved her, and I always would.  That seemed to make her feel better, and that made me feel better, too.