D – 25 (Giving joy with the unexpected)
Counting down the days until Beth’s thirteenth birthday with a few reposts from the archives.
Originally posted: Jan 22, 2003, Beth’s age: 5
I consider it a natural law of the human experience; we tend to find more joy in the unexpected moments than in those that are more routine.
If there is anything that makes me feel like a failure as a parent, it is that neither myself nor my wife has more time to spend with Beth in her school related activities. Both of us work, so we are not often available to strike out with her class on many of their adventures in learning. One day this week I was allowed to make amends. Beth’s class was going to visit “Safety Village” and I was able to tag along. Being the only daddy was some cause for concern. I am loath to draw attention to myself amongst strangers, and nothing draws attention like being unique. The unending chorus of: “ah, it’s so sweet Beth’s daddy could come along,” kept an invisible bullseye on my soul for the whole afternoon.
So there I was, walking into Beth’s classroom one day this week, one of the parent chaperones for the trip. I immediately scanned the room for Beth. I saw her first. She was sitting “in circle,” with her back turned to me. Her teacher was handing out name tags, and each student was dismissed from circle only after they had received their tag. Beth’s turn came and as she turned to leave the circle she faced me. She stopped in mid step, initially somewhat confused to see something that did not belong – me. Suddenly, I saw the memory of our morning conversation appear as a grin creased her face from ear to ear. I cringed a little as she momentarily forgot proper classroom protocol and ran to me for a big hug.
It’s disappointing that I can’t be there for more of her class activities, but it made this morning that much more special.