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Broken Heart

We're trying to teach our kids that "being right" isn't always the most important thing. This morning, I forgot that lesson. I was in the kitchen fixing breakfast for the Boy, and Princess was eating her cereal. We were trying to be funny, all of us saying things that sounded funny and made us laugh (I can't help myself sometimes). My kids have a tendency to drive a joke into the ground, and what started funny was now getting annoying or hurtful. In trying to get them to drop it, I kept getting ignored, and louder and ignored, and ahem louder and ignored. Finally, I slammed the cabinet door - it got their attention, and scared my little girl.

I was right, but I didn't need to scare her like that. The look on her face was fear, then really really sorry that she'd disappointed me, then really really heartbroken that Daddy had slammed the door and scared her. I was "right", and the slammed cabinet door might be justified in getting their attention. But as I explained myself, with tears welling up in her eyes, I had to apologize in the same moment of time. I was hugging her and holding her in thirty seconds, and she still needed to know that dropping the funny thing - see, I don't even remember what it was - was the right thing to do on her part, and their ignoring Daddy was wrong. But I told her I was sorry for scaring her, too - sorry for making her jump and over-reacting on the whole thing.

We smiled, with puffy red still around her eyes she finished eating and brushed her teeth. We drove to school, chatting about how this was going to be a good week and a good day. Her Daddy had broken her heart, and had mended it, too, I hope. She's strong and sensitive, and I've got to remember that she's precious and gracious in all kinds of ways. My son was barely phased, and probably didn't remember anything of the situation. But I want my daughter to know that Dad loves her, and Dad makes mistakes, and still loves her and tries to make things right - while still getting their attention. It's a fine line, isn't it?


Blogger Renee said...

You are such a good daddy! you're kids are blessed as are you.

I kinda had to laugh about Trace not being phased. My son is the same way but if i have to lift my voice at Claire her heart is just broken. Maybe it's a boy/girl thing. :-)

8/8/05 11:02 AM  
Blogger Rick said...


8/8/05 11:33 AM  
Blogger Shieldmaiden said...

Aww. You made me tear up, but this is a sweet story, ultimately. You're a good daddy!

8/8/05 2:35 PM  
Blogger Zube Girl said...

To chime in again, you are a wonderful Dad. When I was younger, my Dad used to get upset because he had the stare, and like your daughter (dang I wish I had my own kids to talk about and not just *my* childhood years, but anyway) I was very sensitive and would cry whenever he gave me the stare.

I was a little scared at those moments, but when it counted, I knew he loved me. I can remember being in high school, and he cried to me on Homecoming night my senior year because he had always been more of the discipline guy. First time I ever saw him cry.

The fact that you are so concerned and thinking about it is wonderful. You won't put yourself through what my Dad did.

Oh, and PS- I love him to death. He's a wonderful, wonderful man, even though he was the tough guy growing up!

9/8/05 12:08 AM  
Anonymous Jeremy said...

Man... i found myself doing the same thing last night: apologizing for scaring / yelling at my five year old even though the concept of it was right... She wasn't listening to what I said... She cried, i apologized, calmed her down... and all was well after that.

it's difficult, but we're learning.

9/8/05 7:38 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

too true. too true.

9/8/05 8:40 AM  
Blogger Sparkling said...

You spend their entire childhood teaching them that parents can be wrong sometimes too, and then they become teenagers.

9/8/05 9:17 AM  
Blogger MaryAnn M said...

yah...and THEN they become teenagers

nuff said!! LOL

but then after that, they become adults. and most settle down and realize that we did what we could and we all will live on, loving and forgiving...and makin more mistakes.

9/8/05 12:10 PM  
Anonymous kelly said...

square that - with two sensetive girlies, and you've got our house. =) Do you think there's a propensity for men (vs. women) to lose their patience and display it in that way? it's certainly the trend in our family, and something my hubs has been working on. it seems like i have a tendency to have a little more low-grade patience, across the board. and i'm not sure why that is...?

9/8/05 1:43 PM  

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