Good writing, with a strong point and with life oozing out.

Knowing, and Being Known

August 28, 2008

One of the great indulgences of my life is to spend significant time with my daughter. This is not without its costs or drawbacks, of course, and I am constantly constrained by the limitations of our life together, and vexed by this little person who seems intent on expanding the definition of ‘obstinate.’ But the chance to know her and to try to shape her and raise her is priceless, and I’m grateful for it.

Today, a nice man held an elevator for the two of us, and so we hurried in and thanked him. He then complimented this little girl on her pretty shirt, and she returned his kindness by giving him an extended and vivid description of this morning’s ultimately unsuccessful attempt to defecate on the toilet. Fortunately, her lack of linguistic acumen combined with her specialized anatomical nomenclature meant that he was aware of neither the topic nor the graphic nature of the conversation. Such is the curse and blessing of talking to a two-year old who is trying to learn both language and toilet habits, simultaneously. I led the nice man in a quick session of smiling and nodding, pretending that I too had no idea what she was saying, and we said our goodbyes.

Any residual embarrassment was displaced many minutes later when I scooped her up into my arms and she grabbed me around the neck. “This is my daddy!,” she proclaimed, as loud and clear as a bell, and for the first time ever. Never has a possessive pronoun felt so good.

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2 Responses to “Knowing, and Being Known”

  1. bottomland says:

    Mike, that’s beautiful! Her pronouncement brings tears to my eyes! Isn’t it a marvel to spend time with these little mysteries?

  2. jledmiston says:

    The world divided into mommies and daddies. Nice.

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