When I’m in my heart as a parent, I can see her innocence. When I’m in task mode, annoyed with the number of times I’ve asked her to do something, I lose sight of it. Pretty normal parenting reality.

Last night, for example, it was past her bedtime, and she was delighting like a toddler in some boxes, imagining it was a spacecraft. I was annoyed with myself for not managing our evening to get her to bed on time for a full night sleep. Now, I was feeling the rush to get her to bed. Repeated attempts to ask her to brush her teeth were met with, “Okay, Daddy” but no follow through. She was caught up in her joy. I could see it and the innocence of it. Playfulness would have quickly solved it. I could have scooped her up in the rocket and given her a fun flight to bed. But instead, after the fourth time, I firmly said, “March!” She listened but was not deterred from her state of play.

Typical for her. Nice.

After her teeth were brushed, she got into a strong stance and leaned forward.

Her – “Daddy, stop! We did not play, and I want to play. I want to wrestle right now.”

Her powerful approach cracked me up, and, realizing she was bouncing with energy from being cooped up in school on a rainy day, I complied. An epic wrestle and tickle fest ensued that made her even later to bed.

Nights like this where I goof on timing leave me with a difficult choice. Compromise her sleep and get her to school on time or let her sleep for her health? I choose the latter unless we have been late too often.

Fast forward to this morning. I decided to let her top up for her health. I reasoned, “If the teachers and principal say something I’ll just tell them the truth. Eight is too early on many days, and her health comes first.”

Nevertheless, at a certain point it was time to go. I had to time getting back to teach.

Me – “I’ll be in the car. Grab your things by the door here.”

Her – “Okay, Daddy” I heard from the distance.

In the car, I waited. No daughter. What could she possibly be doing? All she had to do was get her jacket, lunch bag and come outside. For a moment, I felt that anxiousness coming up; that voice that wants to lecture. Then I saw her. She was bounding out the door. Under one arm were the things I had asked her to carry. Under the other was her treasured blanket and her stuffed animal shark. I saw a little girl. I saw a child still in her innocence. I smiled. She hopped in and off we went on a pleasant ride.

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