We spent an incredible day at the beach yesterday. Sunshine, just enough wind to launch my 25 year old stunt kite, and some cool free-time in the sand! It’s been a long time since I’ve flown my kite – I forgot how much I really enjoy that. We all took turns with it – even some strangers who were intrigued by the aerodynamics and stunts. It was a great way to complete 5 days of camping.
My kids built sand castles, jumped off of dunes, and made new (if not temporary) friends. A few days earlier, we spent the day at the Maritime Museum and both kids took home a small souvenir. Smiling Son found a compass that inspired his sense of adventure and invulnerability, and Darling Daughter, true to her nature, fell in love with a small plastic Loggerhead Turtle which she promptly named “Freckles.”
Just before packing up to head home yesterday, our Darling Daughter was rolling down a sand dune when she struck her leg on something hard, immovable, and sharp. She cut her leg, let out a scream, and ran crying to her Mommy’s arms. No sooner had the pain subsided and the sanity began to return, that she realized she had dropped Freckles – her knew best friend, the plastic turntle. Panic and heartbreak returned.
The timing was bad. We were all hungry, tired (read: exhausted), and ready to go home. We scoured the side of the sand dune looking for Freckles. Unfortunately, realistic looking Loggerhead Turtles blend into the sand really well. Plus, she didn’t really know where on the sand dune the injury occurred. As we prepared to abandon our search, my sweet Darling Daughter pleaded with us to not give up. She said she wouldn’t be able to make it without Freckles.
“As we prepared to abandon our search, my sweet Darling Daughter pleaded with us to not give up.“
I sat on the driftwood with my arm around her. Explanations were pointless. All I could say was, “I”m sorry Sweetheart.” Over and over, I’m sorry. Finally, this brokenhearted Daddy had to do the unthinkable. I picked up my sobbing daughter and carried her to the truck. She was doing her best to let me know how horrible this was, how hard it was for her, and I give her credit – I believe she wanted to hate me, but she clung to some hope.
As we drove away, she shrieked in pain. I hated myself. I turned to my Wonderful Wife and said, “This is the hard part of being a parent. Sometimes the right decision just causes more pain.”
“But that’s why we get paid the big bucks,” I said.
After a good dinner, a restful ride home, and a bath, we all reconnected. My Smiling Son and I wrestled on the bed a little and then I cuddled with my Darling Daughter. She said it was the worst thing that has ever happened to her. But I reminded her of how hard she cried when her cat died. Oh yeah. We cuddled, we talked, we prayed together. I think she’s going to be alright – in fact, I knew she would. But it was touch and go for this tender-hearted Daddy for awhile.
As we lay there, I tried to explain that Daddy’s hearts break when their little girls hurt. She understood, as much as a 7yo can.
As we lay there in the quiet, I thought of all the times I’ve been disappointed, hurt, and discouraged. I realized I’ve moved past all those times – so far. I wondered if my Heavenly Father felt like I did yesterday evening? That’s a rhetorical question actually – I know he does – always. When my dog died, when my Mom died, when I was fired, and when I first tasted the bitterness of a breakup.
Being older and wiser than my Darling 7yo Daughter gives me a perspective she can’t understand. While she may always remember the day she lost her turtle on the beach, and she may remember the heartbreak, she will quickly move past this, and her life will go on. For the life of me, I couldn’t think of anything in my life, where God doesn’t have that same perspective of my life – something I have trouble grasping. No matter what happens in my life, there remains a future, and a bigger picture that I can never grasp.
In fact, one day, I will die. My kids will be left without the Dad who loves them more than they’ll ever know. And because I’m an older father, that day will come sooner in their lives than it does for most kids. I pray that our Father will carry them through that time – like I never could.