Wake up calls

August 9, 2013 

My blasts of reality and what things in life are really important seem to be bombarding me lately.

Friends not much older than I are having major surgery. Others are enduring painful personal problems in their jobs and marriage.

And I’ve already been to too many funerals this year.

All this amidst a time in my life when I am asking myself many more questions than I have answers for.

This week, Addy’s mom shared an article with me by Rachel Macy Stafford titled "The Day I Stopped Saying ‘Hurry Up.’"

And again, I was stopped in my tracks.

I do this with Addy. And it really is, as the article skillfully points out, inhibiting our ability to truly stop and smell the roses.

It’s infinitely unfair of me to ask Addy to hurry up, particularly when so much of what she is doing, she’s doing for the first time.

I think any of us would give anything to go back and remember, if just for a second, what it was like that first time we spotted a cloud that resembled a dinosaur, picked up a new doll or toy or ate cotton candy. For Addy, she is the kind of kid that is going to stretch those moments out, enjoy them and, now that I really look at it, want me to enjoy them with her.

I sincerely hope I am done telling her to "hurry up." Stafford’s article was just the wake up call I needed to help remind me what is really important.

This past week, Addy and I were on the couch, listening to some 80s tunes and folding laundry. Well, I was folding laundry. She was actually sitting peacefully with a few dolls and talking to herself, head bobbing to the music.

Without a word, she jumped off the couch, grabbed a cute kid’s book called "Best Baby Ever" and brought it back.

"Read," she demanded.

"Just a second, sweetie," I said, staring into the huge basket of whites I still had to fold.

Again, there it was. She wasn’t in a rush. And she couldn’t have even cared about the laundry. And frankly, I shouldn’t have, either.

We eventually did get to the book. We read it three times, actually.

After some roughhousing and a little TV, it was time for bed.

Leisurely, Addy brushed her teeth, said goodnight to the cats, wandered off course and then asked for me to sit next to her and rub her back until she fell asleep.

I had pages to proof and e-mails to get to back in the living room. Shame on me for even thinking about those things when my daughter is just asking for a little of my time.

I realized then, and again now, that I am still learning as a father.

So I am making Addy a deal…if she can be patient with me, I will promise to show her the same.

John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail jbeaudoin@lsjournal.com.

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