Thursday, August 16, 2012

Puppy Parts And A Fear Of Dying Part Two...

And then there is death...

My oldest daughter is turning ten this week.

She is pretty and smart and fragile and strong. She is an open book. She is a puzzle with a million pieces. She is an old soul tethered to a dark past. She is a bright light shining through a gray sky. She is inexplicably unique yet she is exactly like me.

Oldest: "Daddy?"

Me: "Yes baby."

Oldest: "I don't want to turn ten."

Me: "How come?"

Oldest: "I just don't want to."

Me: "But it wouldn't be any fun staying 9 forever, would it?"

Oldest: "I don't care."

Me: "Don't you want to do all the things you can do when you get older?

Oldest: "Like what?"

Me: "Well you can drive. You can go to the mall on your own and with your friends. You can fall in love. All kinds of great stuff."

Oldest: "I don't want to get married and I don't want to have kids or grand kids."

Me: "Wait a second. I want grand kids."

Oldest: "Stop it daddy. I'm being serious."

Me: "Baby what's wrong? Talk to me."

Oldest: "I don't want to get old."

Me: "Baby, ten isn't old."

Oldest: "Yes it is. When I turn ten I'll be half of twenty and when I'm twenty I'll be half of forty and when I'm forty I'll be half of sixty."

Me: "Sweetheart, half of sixty isn't forty. It's thirty."

Oldest: "You know what I mean daddy."

Me: "I'm teasing. Baby, what are you afraid of?"

Oldest: "I don't want to die."

She starts to cry. 

Every time she cries over the real stuff my soul tears just a little bit. I don't mean stuff like losing a bracelet or messing up her homework. I mean the kind of stuff that can make you grow or the kind of stuff that can break your spirit. It's such a fine line. I feel like my job as a dad is to make sure the latter doesn't happen. I have to try and spot her on the balance beam of life. But I know that's impossible. No one has that kind of power. Not even a dad.

Me: "Hey, you have a long way to go before you die. I hope we both do."

Oldest: "But what if we don't?"

Me: "I try not to worry about that stuff pal. It's not up to me."

Oldest: "Are you too old to have a ten year old?"

Me: "I don't feel old."

Oldest: "No. Are you old for having a ten year old?"

Me: "I don't think so. People that are a lot older than me have ten year old kids."

Shit. She's afraid that I'm going to die too. Tear...

Oldest: "Are you afraid to die?"

Me: "Maybe a little. It's normal to be afraid of dying. When I was a kid I felt the same way. I think we only get afraid because we don't know what's going to happen to us."

Oldest: "I guess so. I wish only bad people had to die and good people could live forever."

Me: "I hear ya but that's not the way it works."

Oldest: "I don't think I want to talk about this anymore."

Me: "That's OK. Thanks for telling me how you feel baby. It means a lot to me that you can talk to me about this stuff. It helps me."

Oldest: "Why?"

Me: "It just does. You're a good kid. I love you."

Oldest: "Can we get frozen yogurt?"

Me: "I'll ask mommy."

Monday, August 13, 2012

Puppy Parts And A Fear Of Dying Part One...

My daughters are so beautifully simple and yet complicated at the same time.

The way they look through me. The way they walk from the house to the car. The way they brush their hair after a bath.

Everything about them makes me wonder how on earth I could have had anything to do with any of their inherent goodness.

Sometimes it makes me laugh out loud and sometimes it takes all of my will to hold back the tears.

My wife and I made the decision to adopt a puppy a few weeks ago. It was a surprise to the kids.
For obvious reasons, my only condition was that the puppy had to be a boy.

The other day, my little one asked me where the puppy's penis was. I pointed at it.

Little one: "That doesn't look like a penis."

Me: "Well, that's what a doggy penis looks like."

Little one: "It's hairy."

Me: "Sure is."

Little one: "Why is it so hairy?"

Me: "Because dogs are hairy, so their penises are hairy."

Little one: "But you're hairy?"

Me: "Not that hairy."

Little one: "Where are his peanuts?"

Me: "His what?"

Little one: "His peanuts."

Me: "You mean his testicles?"

Little one: "What are tensicles?"

Me: "Testicles. It's another name for his peanuts."

Little one: "Where are they?"

Me:  (pointing) "Right over here."

Little one: "Can I touch them?"

Me: "No way."

Little one: "Why?"

Me: "Because you can't go around touching people's testicles."

Little one: "But he's not a person. He's a dog."

Me: "You know what I mean. You can't touch them."

Little one: "Why are his tentacles so far away from his penis?"

Me: "Testicles sweetheart. They are called testicles."

Little one: "Why are they so far away?"

Me: "I'm not sure. That's just they way they are."

Little one: "They're so small."

Me: "That's because he's a puppy."

Little one: "Where's his butthole?"

Me: (maneuvering the puppy) "Right back there."

Little one: "Eeww it's hairy."

Me: "Yes. It's really hairy."

Little one: "Can I have a snack?"

Me: "Absolutely."