"Why?"

Dear dad of three daughters at Target today,

You didn't know I was listening.  You had what looked to be a newborn, a two year old and a four year old in tow, a cart full to say the least.  You were walking down the baby bottle aisle and stopped beside me to pick out breast pads for your wife.  As you were trying to read labels, your younger toddler began to ask question about what you were buying.  Why did you need them?  How they would be used?  Could she have some?  Where was mommy?  Could she have a snack?  What are you doing daddy?  Why?  Buy why?  Why?

My own son was at home, but the moment she spoke that three letter word, why, I was transported to his side.  You see, I have a very curious toddler as well.  Hundreds of questions are asked of me each and every day, often the same question over and over until my brain wants to explode.  I know it can be exhausting, I know it can be frustrating.  I know the temptation of reciting pack, "because I said so." or, "I already told you 23839 times!"  You do do, but you resisted.  You kept her spark of interest burning.

You could have ignored her or told her to stop asking so many questions.  You could have snapped at her to be quiet or made up flippant, meaningless answers, but you didn't.  You patiently answered all her questions about the breast pads that you likely didn't know much about yourself.  You assured her that mommy was at home resting, that she could look at the pads once they were purchased and that she could have a snack when you got to the car.

You satisfied your toddlers curiosity with kind words and simple answers.  You didn't shut down her thoughts or make her feel as if she was bothering you.  I know you made a positive impact in your daughters life today simply by acknowledging her.  You probably didn't notice the relief in her face each time you answered, or the spark in here eye each time she thought up a new question.  It is likely that you have no idea how important it is to your children for their questions to be acknowledged and answered, or maybe you do.   All I know it that watching you and your daughters for a few moments in the bottle aisle of Target today was a breath of fresh air in this stuffy, often stinky world.

So thank you, dad of three daughters.  Even though they probably won't say it right now, I can guarantee your daughters will one day be thanking you as well.


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