In my struggle to write and share, I’ve noticed that I have created the nasty habit of becoming glued to my phone; checking my emails, replying to questions, and sending updates has started to dominate that small voice sounding ever more irritated in the background—my daughter. “Daddy, play with me!”
Here we were at Playground World, and there I was, face in my phone, my daughter sitting on the ground with her lip starting to tremble and a look of utter heart break on her face. All that stuff about being mindful went right out the window and all that stuff about being a hypocrite came in.
“I looked at her sad little face and realised, this probably isn’t the first time she has made it.” Image via Caitlin Regan/Flickr
I looked at her sad little face and realised, this probably isn’t the first time she has made it. I’ve been busy a lot lately and in pursuing my passion, I have been negligent—negligent as a parent, a spouse and probably as a friend as well. It strikes me like a cold wind: shame. She looks up again, red rimmed eyes filled with tears, “Please!” I shut my phone off, grab my jacket and toss it on the bench and we take a post lunch time romp on the trampoline. She’s laughing hysterically and I’m holding back the Arby’s I just ate.
After we leave and she is busily munching away on chicken fingers and sipping lemonade, I notice a change in her. She is singing, smiling and fully engaged with me. Just hours ago I was talking about how she seems to have pulled away over the past week or two. What happened? What’s going on in her little mind? The realisation that it was me all along is pretty strong right now. Daddy wasn’t being a daddy.
Earlier this year, the Parents On Phones Tumblr went viral.
We sing all the way home, and while getting out of the car, I bonk my head on the door frame trying to get her out of the car seat (in a car so small that it feels like I am doing one legged squats into a shoe box each time I get in and out) and she starts laughing. There it is, that little laugh that I have been missing. “Do it again, Daddy! Do it again!” Despite how much it actually hurt the first time, I fake it for her a few more times. The laughing ensues.