The Zoey Blog: Day Off + Daddy + Daughter = Disaster? FINAL - COVER UNIVERSE EXPLORERS ORDER

Monday, April 25, 2011

Day Off + Daddy + Daughter = Disaster?

I spent three days in Chicago thinking about my daughter. She took six hours to knock me down, and now I'm flustered, and feeling like a fool for imagining that I matter every day...Oh sure, some days I matter very much, it's just that I don't matter every day, and that's frustrating.

I had big plans for today, then Mother Nature got her stupid nose into our business, and those plans were laid to waste. Then I adopted moderately ambitious plans to which Zoey got in the way...and at the end of the day (not quite, but close enough) I was left holding a handful of wishful thinking, heartfelt urges, and a little regret.

We started our day at the Animal Farm...nice, except half the animals were on strike, apparently...union issue, I assume. We got hissed at by a not very kind goose, and Zoey wasn't all that happy to have bird poop on the bottom of her shoes. She was fairly enthusiastic about things in cages, but not so cool with walking where the geese walk. Meh...who ever is, really? On the plus side, she was looking every bit as cute as the word's definition allows.

Animal Farm Easter Bunny

She wore her hair in piggies, sported her pink rain coat, and carried her lunch box everywhere. In those moments I looked like a good Dad. If only those moments could have lasted. For a much too brief 45 minutes we were happy meandering fools, checking out rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, turkeys, geese, a donkey, goats, peacocks, etc...relatively unimpressive etc...and then the signs started to appear that perhaps the day was disintegrating.

Animal Farm...checking out peacocks

"I want to go home," Zoey said abruptly, not long after stroking a donkey's ear.

"Huh," I guffawed. "Home. Why do you want to go home? There aren't any donkeys or guinea pigs at home."

"I just wanna go home and see Mummy," she said.

I did my best to distract her with more animals, and a pretty ingenius poop dodging game, but the tires were slowly going flat. She was still paralyzingly cute but a little less than enthusiastic. I think I was caught up in the cute, and wasn't paying enough attention to the oh-so important unenthusiastic part.

Animal Farm...goats

So we left the Animal Farm and since it was only 10:30am, and I was hoping to navigate a full day with Zed, we snuck over to Value Village to root through second hand books and toys. I was thinking that perhaps we'd find a treasure to take home, and maybe that would inspire a new day. Nope. She was eager enough to look at books, and she was more than enthusiastic to litter the toys all about, but you can't buy happy. Rooting through the shelves of assorted this and that might be Baachan's idea of fun, but Zoey was only mildly entertained.

Like Baachan, like granddaughter

She put on a good face, and tried, but in the end she couldn't help but dampen the air with another familiar sounding plea.

"I wanna go home Daddy," she said.

"But I thought we'd go out for lunch," I suggested, "and maybe bring something home for Mummy?"

She reluctantly agreed, and so we headed over to the supermarket where we could eat, visit the live them to the frozen dead ones, and maybe sneak together a nice dinner for Mom to end her day with. Nope. Zedder wanted to go home and she was done with the store, done with listening, and certainly done with a hard-working and quickly deflating Daddy. We went home. It was nearing nap time, there were tears...a lot of them, there were hives...there always is short on the heels of tears, and there were hurtful words.

"I like Mummy better than you," Zoey announced, angry with me for asking for her attention, frustrated by my refusal to allow her to do whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted. Today Zedder wanted no barriers, while Dad, despite his eagerness to hang out, was in big favor of maintaining them. And with that one sentence, Daddy turned the car toward home, felt a surge of absolute heartbreak, and kind of wondered what happened in three days to have earned that hurt.

I put Zo to bed and didn't say much. I wasn't very eager to expose myself to the humiliation that only a two year old can dole out. Lesson learned...all your best intentions mean nothing if they're not someone else's desires. Of course, Zo was only looking for a reaction, and naturally, she doesn't understand the weight of her words, nor do I believe that she means what she says on most occasions, but it stings no less, and does little more than reinforce the notion that Daddy counts only when daughter wants him to count, and Mummy matters more. I suppose we all know that. Most of us fathers feel it on a daily basis, it's just rare that it gets verbalized. I thought I had until she was fourteen before I got stripped of my pride.

Day off + Daddy + Daughter = Disaster.


Blogger June said...

This has got to be one of the saddest posts yet. Tears are streaming down my face as I sit her in my cubicle. I'm just hoping that nobody needs to talk to me in the next 15 mins. I'm sorry you had such a rough day yesterday Daddy :( It probably doesn't help that she spent 3 days with only Mommy. Note to self - solid time with only one parent does not have a good outcome for the other. I guess that means we need to keep doing things as a family ;)

April 26, 2011 at 10:40 AM  

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