I try… I try as hard as I can to do everything I think I am supposed to do as a parent. But sometimes I feel like regardless of my best efforts, sometimes even “good” things wind up having their dark side.
Let me see if I can decrypt that a little so you have some idea of what I am talking about. An example… yeah, that should do it. OK, and example. My daughter made a statement, that at the time I must admit thrilled me. She said, “I would rather spend time doing nothing with you than playing and having fun when you are not around.” Like I said, at the time I was beaming. I took it that besides just being a dad, I was in a sense a friend. Somebody that not only did she HAVE to spend time with, but somebody she wanted to spend time with. Since I love spending time with her, what could possible be wrong? Right?
Well, not exactly. As I trupeted most of last week, I spent a six hour stint chained to my computer as part of Blogathon 2006. No big deal here, it was a beautiful day. TheWife kept LatteGirl entertained for the entire morning (3 of my six hour shift). With her new found freedom of being able to swim without me attached to her hip, I thought, “No big deal” I would simply bring the laptop out on the deck and I could continue blogging while she swam. This did not exactly work out as planned. She went swimming for about 15 minutes and then got out of the pool and came and sat next to me on the deck.
She did not try and stop me from what I was doing, but no longer desired to swim. When I asked her why, she said, “It is just no fun without you.” She entertained herself by trying to take an interst in what I was doing. Asking questions, watching Cathy, Doug, and their family on the web cam, talking about WHY I was trying to raise money for Farm Aid, etc. She tried. But deep down I knew she wanted to be in that pool, and man did I feel guilty.
Now I am willing to bet that there will be at least one person that will say that I spoil LatteGirl, and to a certain extent I can not refute it since it is a fact. When it comes to spending time with her, doing things with her, being there for her, I WANT to spoil her. And unlike typical “spoiled brat” fashion, she does not DEMAND that I tend to her needs, or whine when she doesn’t get my attention immediately. She will simply not “DO” what she wants, and will then just wait for me to be available. Could it simply be a ploy on her part, playing the “guilt card?” I guess it could, but that takes a lot of patience to work, more than a typical six year old has (I think).
So now I am stuck. I can try and break this “dependence” on me, but that is of course a plan fraught with perils of its own. Or I can stick with living with the boughts of guilt when I am not as available as she would like me to be at any given moment.
Did I ever mention how I hate problems that do not have a clear solution?