Saturday, December 1, 2012

Tough Goodnights

I called her a liar and she fell apart.

She couldn't stop crying and kept telling me that she was, "so sad."

"Why did you call me a liar Daddy?"

I explained to her with as much heartbroken patience as I could muster, "because when you lie you're a liar." She wondered why I would hurt her feelings that way. I explained further, and of course, hugged her, and helped her stop crying. She was indeed hurt, and a little confused. I denied her the usual stories at bedtime because when I asked her who had made the mess in her room she said that it wasn't her. It turns out that Mom had left some toys on the floor when she was changing Zo's sheets, but at least half of the mess was Zoey's. She lied to me, I called her a liar.


"I don't want to be a liar Daddy."

"Then you mustn't lie, because right now that's what you are." More tears. "You won't always be that," I said, "but right now you are. If you don't want to be a liar then you have to stop lying."

Through hyperventilating gasps and skin in awful hives, "Okay Daddy." There was a pause for more tears. "Can I hug you Daddy because I don't want you not to love me."

Tears...this time from me. "Of course, I'll always love you," pause, "but you don't get any books tonight."

"I know Daddy. Because I lied to you. I don't want to lie to you any more. I love you."

"I know you do Zo," I said. "Do you understand why got upset with you."

"Yes Daddy," she said choking back the return of more tears. "But I don't know why you hurt my feelings like that."

Cue the broken heart...and the goodnight...and the kiss on the forehead.

Zoey has to remember not to lie, and Daddy needs to remember how badly what he says can crush his daughter.


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