I haven’t posted too many pictures of my daughter lately. She’s on the cusp of her teenage years and I know how uncomfortable it is to just be that age, let alone have your life shared. Out of respect, I have pulled back on how many times I post about her.
Make no mistake, though, I want to. To look at the main blog page, you’d think I only have one child, but it’s not out of love of pictures. If I had my choice, she’d be all over the place. I love that kid and, while it might be embarrassing to have your dad profess that on the Internet, it’s too bad. I can back off from the pics, but I don’t back off from telling the world how great she is.
There are an abundance of stories that prove how great she is and yesterday was one of those stories. She, her brother, and I all went to meet the sensory Easter Bunny. He’s like the mainstream Easter Bunny except that he’s supposed to be more accommodating to children with special needs. My son is non-verbal and has autism, so the sensory versions of holiday photos has always been our go-to.
Of course, there’s no real difference between the sensory rabbit and his hopping counterpart. Especially now, in a corona world, you sit five feet in front of him either way. Yet, we drove 20 minutes to see him. Honestly, the bunny could easily have been replaced by a green screen.
Still, I managed to get the kids together and bring them to the mall for a meeting. It was pretty important to me and, although Lucas was indifferent and my daughter needed to be begged out of bed to get there by noon, we made it. The entire process was painless, but I could tell that I was the only one really into any of it.
Afterwards, on the way back, she had that annoyed look on her face as she peered out the window. With her brother starting and stopping YouTube videos in the back, I figured I’d make some conversation rather than sitting in silence.
Hey. Are you alright?
Yeah. I’m just tired.
It was the same moody reaction that she has to so many things, although I was pretty sure she was genuinely tired. I had made her climb out of bed and take a long car ride for a five minute photo op. She stared out the window and, while I was still frustrated with trying to pry a conversation from her, I figured she was my captive audience. I decided to tell her how important the day had been, but as I did, I came to an epiphany.
You know, it was nice that you did this today. It means a lot to your bro…
Before I could say “brother”, I stopped myself. That would have been a lie. It didn’t mean a lot to her brother. Lucas didn’t care. He isn’t really aware of who the Easter Bunny is and, in order to get him there, I had to bribe him with bringing his iPad in. It’s even visible next to me in the picture. He would have been happier staying home and eating chunks of cheese. So, I changed my speech.
I was going to say it means a lot to Lucas. But, honestly, it doesn’t. Lucas doesn’t give a crap about the Easter Bunny.
She turned her head, still with a sullen expression, but listening.
If I’m being honest, it means a lot to me. This is our first holiday in my new house and I wanted a memory of it with you guys.
“My new house” is code for “divorce”. This was my first year flying solo on Easter and it is important to me that I get it right and create memories that they will cherish one day. Getting them in front of that giant rabbit was more for Dad than anyone else. Neither kid wanted it. I did. She was still listening.
I made you get up and I made you come. I know you didn’t want to do it. You know how I know? Because I was once twelve and the last thing I’d want to do is take an Easter Bunny picture. But you did. You came. You did it. It was a very nice thing of you to do. Thank you. I want you to know I appreciate it.
I could tell she was surprised, but undersold it. She spurted out a “you’re welcome” from under her breath and returned her gaze to the window.
I want to write about this for the blog tomorrow. I won’t use your picture. I’ll put an Easter Egg over your face or something, but I want everyone to know what a good kid you are and the nice thing you did for me. Is that OK?
With the same energy of her “you’re welcome”, she gave me an OK. So that’s what I did. I’m telling you all now.
Being twelve sucks. It sucked when I was twelve and I’m sure it sucks when she is. I try to remember that and cut her slack while preparing her for adulthood in the best way possible. She might not always be in the best of moods, but deep down, she’s the best of kids. No matter what, I can always count on her to do what will make me or Lucas happy. As a dad, that’s my main goal. I want her to be a strong and caring member of the family. Days like that make me realize that she is.
Hopefully we can keep this going for nine more months when I have to drag a thirteen-year-old to see sensory Santa.