My daughter, Bella, is eight. My son, Ben, is five. My children are the bravest and best people I know. Every time they do anything, they do it with wonder and live the experience with every breath. Every person they meet isn’t black or brown or anything but a new “best friend”. I can’t begin to count the times I have been humbled by their strength and goodness.
When Bella is upset or cries, Ben checks on her and tells her he is there, and loves her. When there are times Ben is crying or upset, Bella lets him know she loves him. My favorite thing about my children is they look out for one another and support each other.
Bella feels things deeply and kets us know how she is doing, and checks up on us. I remember after 9/11, we were careful not to expose the kids to frightening tv and talk but, Bella said she was scared of “bad guys”. I held Bella tightly and she wiped a tear from my eye and said; “It’s O.K. daddy, I love you.”
Bella is extemely outgoing and has great empathy, a surprise she has shown us for years. I emember Bella and I went to a father-daughter Valentine’s Day dance and she didn’t know anyone but, me. We danced several times (Bella on my feet or in my arms), Bella went to a little girl along the wall made friends, and they organized dads and little girls into a dance line “like in the cartoons”.
One night, Ben came to me, sat at my feet and said: “Daddy I’m upset you yelled at me this morning.” I said I was sorry and agreed I wouldn’t yell. Ben agreed he would try to listen so as to get things done the first (or third, rather than the tenth) time asked. Ben and I agreed we would make sure we reminded the other of our promise when voices were raised or not heard.
Ben and his friend Joshua were having a spat after Ben had invited Josh over to watch a video. Josh had wanted to play with toys and went home, upset. Ben told me he was upset Josh had left. I asked Ben what Josh had wanted to do. Ben told me, and said he had not listened to Josh. I asked Ben how he felt when he thought we didn’t listen and Ben smiled and said he was going to Josh’s house to say he was sorry for not listening. I was nearby when the boys talked and Josh said he was sorry, too. The boys happily ran off to play “knights”.
Through surgeries and school, summers and sports, my children have grown. As my children grow, so does my hope for our future. This I believe.
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