There are certain things I think a dad should be able to do for his little girl. Like making her feel safe when there’s nothing but fear in her eyes.
Last night daughter #1 woke up crying at 11:15pm. I was downstairs working on my computer when I heard her. At three years old you can tell the different cries – which one will last a minute and which will keep her up. This was the kind that would last an hour and require parental attention. I bounded up the stairs to her door and saw her sitting up in bed. Sheets pulled down to her feet. Terror and tears in her young eyes.
“Did you have a bad dream sweetie?”
I could barely make out what she was saying through the sobs.
Without asking I knew she needed me to stay with her. To be her daddy. To pull the covers up around her neck and put my arm around her waist. So I did exactly that. And I watched her face and nothing else. Slowly, the sobs turned to sniffles and then to normal breathing. Then her eyes fluttered a few times and she was down again. It took all of five minutes. I probably could have left but I stayed with her the entire night. In a bed that was too small and not very supportive and more than a little uncomfortable.
I’m not sure why I did. Maybe I was afraid she’d wake up again. Maybe I just wanted to feel like a good dad last night.