Friday, April 07, 2006

Cat's In The Cradle Life?

Usually when I come home, just enough energy remains in my tank to figure out and execute the next activity. Make dinner, throw in a load of laundry, fire off a follow-up email--unfinished in the mad rush to pick up kks in time for dinner. Actually, my real motivation in a mad dash recently involves medicating myself through food, an adult beverage, television, web surfing, or a combination of all four. No wonder kks gets frustrated with me. Ninety percent of the time kks greets me with joy. I thought I should return the favor.

My heart moved yesterday when I picked up kks on a warm, windy evening. She proudly displayed a picture of a goat she colored that day: "See Daddy? It's a goat!" I was touched by her enthusiasm. Traveling outside, a famous gust of South Dakota wind ripped the picture out of her hand and out of sight. Most of her cries these days result from complaint. The resulting cry of the departed artwork reflected loss and mourning. Upon arrival at home, there was no need for immediate nourishment, we had taken a meal break from child care and work in the late afternoon. Blood sugar levels were not the issue (Maybe this has a lot to do with our medicating intake of food...at least mine). There we sat in the living room. I held her and rocked her, and I thought, "I'm not going to set a time limit on this."

Once in awhile my wife will sing to me Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle." I wouldn't say I'm an inattentive father, but I can get caught up in my own crap at the expense of the three-year-old. I also heard that Chapin song in the car this morning and briefly reflected on my relationship with kks. My parenting models were strong. They offered much of their time to build a strong relationship with us. I do not have a Cat's in the Cradle life. However, gentle reminders of calling certainly don't hurt.

I have no idea how long kks and I rocked, then danced to kks' two favorite songs: The Barenaked Ladies version of "Jingle Bells" and "Seasons of Love" from the RENT Soundtrack. But it was long enough for her, which for once, was long enough for me.


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