(Much thanks to katdish for having the brilliant idea to spotlight me on her blog yesterday and effectively breaking my Google analytics in the process. If you’ve never visited her, please do. She’s hilarious, she’s honest, and she lives what she believes. I guarantee her blog will be among your favorites [besides, you know you can’t pass up something called Hey look, a chicken!]. Now, back to business…)
My son handed it to me and said, “Look what I made today, Daddy.”
Six pieces of glued cardboard, complete with cut-out eye holes and miscellaneous graffiti—a wobbly pair of black glasses rings the top, some colored grass on the sides, and his name in the back.
“Wow,” I said, turning it over in my hands. “Now that is one great…box.”
“It’s not a box, Daddy,” he said, rolling his eyes. “It’s a Super-Duper-Looker Box.”
I had no idea what a Super-Duper-Looker Box was. Nor did I know what function it served. But I learned early on that your kids will upon occasion take much time and much effort to create something just for you, and that to them much time plus much effort equals much love. Saying something like “I don’t know what this thing is” wouldn’t score me any Daddy Of The Year points. So I had to figure out what it was and what it was for in a more roundabout way.
“You’re kidding me,” I said. “That’s the best Super-Duper-Looker Box I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot. It’s for me?”
“Awesome. I’ve always wanted one of these.”
He looked at me and smiled. I looked at him and smiled back.
“Are you gonna use it?” he asked.
Again: he looked at me. I looked at him.
“The thing is,” I said, “I’m not quite sure I know how to use it. These things can be complicated, you know. And I’m not really a complicated guy.”
“Let me show you,” he beamed.
I gave him the box. He lifted the top open, pulled down the section with the eye holes, and shoved the whole thing onto my head.
“It’s a little tight,” I cringed. “Which is good. That’s how Super-Duper-Looker Boxes are supposed to be.”
“You need to push it all the way down, Daddy,” he said.
“All the way?”
I grabbed both sides and pushed, effectively putting my forehead where my nose was supposed to be.
“Perfect!” he said. “Do you like it?”
“I love it,” I answered. Then: “When do I take it off?”
“You have to wear it every day,” he said, “for a half hour, I think.”
“Can I start tomorrow?” I asked him.
The box made a horrific sucking sound when I pulled it off, but the pain was worth it. My head stopped hurting, and I could both breathe and see again. My son’s Super-Duper-Looker Box may well have been an expression of his love, but it felt like a medieval torture device.
There is an unwritten policy between my wife and I that all things crafty given to us by our children have a shelf life of approximately one week. After that, the kids will usually forget their gifts and we will quietly slip their creations into the trash. Yes, this sounds harsh. But you do this sort of thing if you have kids, too. Don’t lie.
My son never once mentioned the Super-Duper-Looker Box over the next three days, so I thought putting it into the trash a little early was an okay thing to do. I changed my mind when he walked into the living room yesterday evening holding it.
“Daddy?” he asked, bottom lip quivering. “Who threw away your Super-Duper-Looker Box?”
A little quick thinking and a few white lies managed to calm him, though not enough to avoid the inevitable.
“Will you wear it now, Daddy? Outside?”
“Absolutely,” I said.
So out we went, he and I and my Super-Duper-Looker Box (“I’ve been looking for this thing for days,” I told him). We sat under a shade tree and he mashed it over my head again and I was thankful for the breeze that seeped up and onto my face.
“Can you see?” he asked.
“Perfectly,” I answered.
“Then it works, right?”
“Right as rain.”
“Can you see better? Because it’s supposed to make you see better.”
Okay God, I silently prayed, My head hurts, I can’t think straight, and I don’t want to mess this up again, so how am I supposed to answer this one? Because if I’m honest, then the answer is an unqualified no. I can’t see better. I can’t turn my head to see backward. Can’t even turn it to the side. All I can see is…
What? a tiny voice inside me answered. All you can see is what? What’s in front of you?
Wonderful! Because that’s where I need you to be looking. What’s ahead is all that matters. What’s behind you is gone. What’s around you can get you into trouble. You look ahead. You look where you’re going. I’ll take care of the rest. Understand?
“Do you see, Daddy?” he asked.
“I do see,” I answered him. “More than you know.”