Jacob is playing “doctor” downstairs with Soph. I went down to get my computer and his diagnosis was so specific and his tone was so serious, I thought he was giving medical advice to another adult over the phone– until I saw he was holding a dolly and writing his prescription on a magnadoodle.
Jacob is one amazing father. I write “amazing” and the critic in me chuckles at the overly used, lackluster phrase. “Show, don’t tell” I would probably write on a creative writing paper.
So I will show.
I am lying next to Ellie, and I hear Jacob coming upstairs with Soph, “Shhh, shhhh,” he tells her. “Did you buy plum sauce for that recipe for dinner?” he asks, sitting on the foot of the bed. “No,” I whispered back, “I didn’t buy a lot of things for that recipe. I figured you could, you know, just make something.” So he will. He’ll use bean sprouts and salmon, and probably ginger and scallions and sesame oil, and he’ll cook for our family. He’ll clean up spills and slice grapes and tell Cohen that he can’t have just yogurt for dinner. Then he will take the kids upstairs for a bath, and he will calm Ellie when she screams that there is soap in her eyes, and he will reprimand Sophie and Cohen as they splash too much water out of the tub.
He will read them Magic Treehouse stories and facts about sharks and the 1985 Bears. Cohen will ask simple things like “why was he called the Fridge?” and hard things like “Why do the Bears never win anymore?” Then he will carry them all back upstairs, like a proud papa ape, kids clinging to his neck and shoulders and legs. He will sing to them- the requested “busy day song” of course, but he’ll also imagine himself Bono and gently screech out the high notes of “sometimes you can’t make it on your own.”
Then he will pray with them. He will tell them not to be afraid of the dark. He will remind them not to be afraid because he is their dad and he loves them and God loves them too. He will leave Cohen’s door open and Sophie’s door shut, and he will stand outside of Ellie’s room saying “Shhhh, Daddy’s here,” until she falls asleep.
What if you could see yourself the way your Beloved sees you? Not just how she sees you on your triumphant days, when the sunset is pink and the kids are all getting along and the Coronas are chilling in the cooler– but on the average days, the overcast days, days with runny noses and dirty floors and tooth-paste-stained pajamas?
Oh, if we could only see ourselves the way our Beloved sees us. What might we have the strength to do? What might we have the courage to say? Who might we dare to become?