There are days when being a dad fully drains the energy out of me. Some days I stare at what is before me with the eyes of a hopeless man.
I come home in the afternoon and step over a pile of boots, coats, backpacks that completely disguises the fact that the back landing has floor tiles. I hold the knowledge that no matter how few Shreddies or Honeycomb clumps are poured into the breakfast bowl and drowned in milk, there will always be several that remain behind to dissolve slowly in the bowl. I constantly pity the two lonely, wet socks that have made it to within feet of the laundry hamper. I see the plates, cracker crumbs and peanut butter jar with the knife still sticking out that is the carnage of a hastily-devoured after-school snack. I walk through the house turning off light switches, pausing only to marvel as I find one that has NOT been toggled on.
And yet, there is hope. Tonight, I went into McMonk's room, I saw a pile of CD-ROMs (that I had noted while feeding her fish earlier that day) were mostly put back into a protective travelling CD case. "She's getting it," I thought to myself. Some of this stuff is soaking in. I then thought back to a few disconnected incidents over the past few days. I remembered a day when she spontaneously complimented Jenn on dinner. Another time when she came to the door to see a friend off and gave the girl a hug and sounded genuine when she thanked her for coming to play. Yet another time when she called me in to see that she'd tidied everything off of her floor, even inviting me to look under her bed.
Putting all this together, I realize that this isn't an uphill battle. We're on the flats - it just took a lot of gentle but persistent pushing to get things rolling in the right direction.