“Picklebottom’s Lightening”

Rifle Travel Blog

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“You know how I never tell you who I like?” she offers from under my protective arm, still sobbing from the pressure.  I’m aware of my interlocked hands resting on her belly as I pull her close. From the sheer volume of her tears alone I thought I was about to hear devastating/revelationary-life altering news—like she was joining a monastery, or didn’t want Dr. Pepper ever again. Especially when she weighted her news with ‘she’d never told me anything like this before’. I steeled myself for the bomb but felt a rush of love all over me when she plainly said “I really like this boy. He’s nice to me.” I’m really thankful a father’s ear-to-ear expression of joy doesn’t make any noise, nor did my huge internal sigh of relief.

            “How long have you liked him?” I inquire, thinking I’ve got the workings to some ancient secret father/daughter code being handed to me. She wouldn’t crack, not this egg, and definitely not this easy.

            “Just about a day,” she confirms. All those pending fourth grade feelings having reached the top of her cup in such a short time, a lightening timeline of which I can’t remember seeing or imagining, having the power of this emotion called attraction at its purest form, a simple crush and a feeling of familiarity with another person. She explains he’s a little older than her, and with a couple of guesses I out the culprit. This news seems to deflate her balloon of angst a little more, and I feel her form relax deeper into my chest.

            I encourage her that my girl’s feelings are normal and I automatically sprinkle a few seeds of being careful with those natural precious pangs she’s having, and assure her that I’m so proud of having her trust in this moment. I express my hope I’ll always have it. I tell her I’m always available to her, all ways. That I’ll always--always be what she needs me to be in this delicate and beautiful realm my little girl has thrust me into.

            A whole new chapter in parenting, a whole new grace from God I feel as my words fall into silence, like the many compliments and blessings I bestow upon her. ‘Dad’s are supposed to say stuff like that’ I imagine her thinking, but then I already know this, with  my words as predictable as the vows I made to her all those nights rocking her to sleep.

            It’s been a long time since I’ve jotted a parenting experience down, having been distracted by so much of life’s twists. I knew I couldn’t let this one get away, and feel grateful that despite all the periphery clouds swirling that I’m still plugged in and recognize grace and beauty in those strikes of my Picklebottom’s lightening. Why she felt compelled to share a shade into her intensely private world is a confounding mystery to me, but I’m so thankful I was in the moment and recognized this glorious gift for what it was.

TravellinChic says:
good dad :)
Posted on: Aug 10, 2010
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