Why have kids?
Even for a parent, it’s not an entirely straight forward question to answer. They’re obstinate, unreasonable, melodramatic, petulant and obsessed with chocolate biscuits. And they don’t ease off when things aren’t going your way. When you’re ill, for instance, they seem to demand even more attention. Even when truly bad things happen in life, small children still want to be entertained and comforted, their quarrels adjudicated and their hurt fingers kissed better, no matter how you’re feeling. In fact they sense your weakness and use it to get what they want. Most of the time, in fact, they’re merciless. And yet.
Say someone significant in your life has passed away. You’re sitting, feeling a bit lost. Then something triggers you. It could be anything, a song on the radio, an advert, a Cbeebies program, and the thin veneer of normalcy cracks, and you do what adults aren’t really supposed to do. Especially not men, and especially not in front of your two year old daughter. You start to weep. For a little while you’re a bit out of control. And the tears make more tears, and you can’t help but let a bit of the lostness out.
Your daughter turns away from the TV and looks at you quizzically.
“Yes my beauty?”
“Are you a bit sad?” She asks. This makes you cry more, just as you were getting it back under control.
“Yes, I’m a bit sad.” You manage to say, tears rolling down your cheeks. You feel like a child yourself, adrift in a world of adult emotions and tragedies. Your two year old daughter comes over to you, stands beside your chair and starts stroking your arm. “It’s all right, Daddy.” She says softly. “It’s all right.”
There aren’t really words for how this makes you feel. Just… no words. For a little while you cry as she strokes your arm and tells you it’s all right.
“Daddy?” She says finally.
“Yes my beauty?” You reply with a deep, tremulous breath, a love-grin splitting your face.
“Can I have a chocolate biscuit?”