I get Dad because I am frighteningly like him.
Thus spake Little Cuter.
It was via email, part of an ongoing conversation about a lifestyle change that makes me antsy but fills my loving husband with joy. I've been trying to lay out my concerns, my objections, my considerations, my rules, and my expectations. I just seem to drive him further into a corner. I look like the bad guy, when all I want is to set the parameters before we take the next step.
I don't want to be in charge. I will help, but I don't want to be the First Responder. I'll do errands if they fit, but I don't want to be the one who thinks of them. I don't want to be the responsible party. I don't want to add one more thing to my To Do List.
There will be daily chores and long term planning and clean ups and appointments and I start to sweat just typing them to you right now. I've done it before and I'm not interested in doing it again. Why my sweet husband can't understand that is a mystery to me. It's perfectly clear in my brain. Why isn't it clear to him?
This disconnect has happened before. We spent two weeks arguing - silently, loudly, tearfully - over whether I should testify before the Senate on sensible gun control legislation. I saw only the upside. He saw only the crazies on the other end of the spectrum, the ones with weapons and a proven willingness to use them, as my limping self demonstrated to him every time he looked my way. I thought he was standing in the way of an exciting opportunity, a chance to really make my voice heard, a place for me to promote an agenda. He thought I was being foolish, ignoring the realities, putting myself at risk for no real reason. I thought he was over-bearing and paternalistic.
It was a stalemate, until Little Cuter entered the fray. Her tearful "Mom, I don't know what I'd do if you got shot again!" was enough to seal my decision. Somehow, keeping my little girl free from worry trumped all my other issues. It was a no brainer from then on. I deferred to Pat Maisch, who did a wonderful job, who got lots of publicity, and who has not been the victim of recriminations or gunfire since she spoke to a less-than attentive Senate panel.
The Big Guy shared her concerns. He didn't phrase it in a way that I could hear it. He didn't put himself at the front and center of the issue the way that she did, although, in his heart, he was right out there leading the charge to keep me far from death's door, even if I didn't see the danger staring me in the face. He was flummoxed that I heard and acted on Little Cuter's plea when I'd ignored his. He had been saying the same things for a week. Or so he thought.
Somehow, our little girl took his words and put them into my language. I understood. I complied. I felt fine, or as fine as you can feel when you do the right thing, even if you wanted very very much to do the other thing. It didn't feel like giving in; it was agreeing to be kind to my child. I'd have been as kind to my spouse, had I been able to hear his request. The disconnect remains a mystery to all sides.
We're lucky to have the kid to translate.
Big Cuter tells me the same thing. "Mom, your message is perfect. Your delivery, though....." I am Daddooooo when I get going on a topic, refusing to let go, a terrier with a chew toy in her mouth, endlessly swinging it side to side, repeating over and over the point I'm trying to get across. I know that if I say it with enough variation, enough nuance, enough passion, my point will be taken.
Not so much, it seems.
Sometimes it takes someone who's attached by love and time and genetics to break through the barriers and present the case in a way that can be heard by both sides. Sometimes it takes a little girl with a connection to her daddy that is deep and personal and resonates in a way that I cannot imagine to tell him that
Mom is so busy she doesn't need anything else to do.
But you, Dad, you NEED a dog.