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Daddy's Always There: A Lesson from the Merry-Go-Round
This past weekend, my husband took the girls and I to the park to ride the merry-go-round. At just $2.00 a ride, it was a fun and budget-friendly treat. It was an older carousel with a rich history, but perhaps what made it especially fun is the fact that it moved much more quickly than your average carousel, and played the loudest music.
The first time around we all rode together, but for trip two, my husband decided to sit out and watch. The girls and I got back in line, and moments later climbed back aboard our horses. This time Lola and I shared a “horsey” and when the music started we went around and around.
Each time we went around, we found ourselves scanning the crowd for Daddy. We’d call out his name, smile, and feverishly wave. Seconds later we would do it again… and again. For the duration of the ride, we would look for him each time we passed where he stood. We knew no matter how fast this thing went, how loud the music played, or even how many times we went around, he’d still be there.
Later on the way home, as my oldest sang almost every song on the Frozen soundtrack and my littlest fell asleep trying to do the same, I thought about the symbolism of our little adventure.
I thought about how crazy life gets — how fast it seems to move, and how loud the noise gets — the “noise” being your inner voice when we aren’t being as kind or gentle to ourselves as we should be. Or that outer voice the world uses — the one that tries to get us to conform or to be what someone else wants us to be instead of being true to ourselves.
But no matter what has happened, my husband has been by my side. And he’s been that way with our daughters. He’s always there. And the beautiful part about it is, it doesn’t matter how many times we’ve been there before.
With me, it’s things like the struggle I feel as I try to juggle work and motherhood. Trying to help provide while honoring that strong desire I have to nurture my babies. His ability to sit down and help me get a hold of my thoughts in order for us to come up with a plan.
With our oldest, it’s things like waking her up in the morning to the tune of the only song he can play on the keyboard, reviewing English summaries, cleaning under the bed, and giving a pep talk and a bear hug after a hard day at school. It’s reminding her that she is capable and that what she has to say matters.
And with our baby, it’s a quick swoop up after a tumble. The appearance of a new, appropriate toy, when the fact that the ink pen or debit card is not a toy is too hard to bear. It’s the comforting of a babe who dropped her cheese onto the floor and watched her dog eat it again. And it’s reading the same story over and over, yet never wavering in excitement.
I watch him and Lola and wonder if she knows what her big sister and I have come to know. That for as long as he has breath in his body, he will be here. And quite possibly the best part about all of this is the fact that if doesn’t matter how many times we’ve been here before.
Because life is packed with a lot of those moments. Repetition. Situations that are uncomfortably familiar, deja vus, lessons that we didn’t quite grasp the first time around or even the second. Moments when we are trying so hard to look past our circumstances but life is moving so fast we find it difficult to see clearly. Moments when we find ourselves longing for calm quiet or scanning the room in search of a familiar face. Moments when we are so deep in excitement that we aren’t looking for what’s ahead. And those beautiful moments that we find ourselves delighting in the fact that they have occurred yet again.
He’s no stranger to the fact that life in itself can mirror a merry-go-round.
And whether it’s tantrums, forgetting to restock the diaper bag and discovering you’re going to have to make it through the next couple of hours with one measly diaper wipe, or staying up all night with a sick little one — all of those instances that are not anomalies, but a part of our everyday — Daddy will be there. Time and time again.