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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Taking Care of the Old Man

My job as a dad is simple. I have to take care of my daughter. The definition of that is not so simple. That could mean many things. It means dressing and feeding her. It means playing games with her. It means teaching her things. It even means wiping her on the toilet. It's not all fun. I do a lot for her, and it can be pretty tiring. I think she knows that.

I know it seems strange, but I get the sense that Casey thinks she needs to take care of me. She shares her food with me. When we hide from monsters in my bed, it's an excuse for me to lay down and rest. She seems to get that, because she tucks me in and kisses me on the head. She even tries to make me laugh sometimes, and she's always successful. She's been trying to do that since she was only a few months old. I'm not kidding. I remember getting her settled in her bouncy chair one day. She looked me in the eyes and made a goofy move that made me laugh. When I laughed, she smiled. Mission accomplished. It struck me immediately. This kid had a sense of humor.

I suppose that kind of thing is natural. She returns what I give her. I'm proud of her for that. I don't know if that will carry over to other people. She does share her Goldfish crackers with her great grandparents, who she loves to pieces. She's great with her cousin, and she calls my friends' newborn daughter her new baby sister.

We do have a close relationship. She clings to me when we're together, and she hates when I leave her at school. I hate it too. I wonder how long that's going to last. I hope forever, but who knows? I would like to think that someday she'll take care of me if I ever become incapacitated. I assume she will, because I'll teach her to be a compassionate person. I just hope that her mother and I don't end up incapacitated at the same time, because I'll choose a nursing home over living in that situation.

She's also very protective and possessive of me. When the other kids in her school try to talk to me, she gets mad sometimes. "That's MY daddy!" It's really sweet. She's funny when she does that. I really don't worry about my future with her. I know I'll always have someone looking out for me, and she'll have the same. Even when I'm old and frail, if someone messes with her, they'll end up on the wrong side of my walker. That's just the way it is.

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