As a person who makes his living writing and speaking there are times when it can become easy to start believing the hype. The event invitations, flattering introductions and affirming comments can sometimes start to make a person believe that the world really does revolve around him/her. Most folks whom I have met in this line of “work” have people in their lives who ground them, reminding them of the place they call home: the place where intimacy and community are experienced. The people who help to do this are the folks who don’t love you because of blog post hit counts, frequent flyer miles or event attendance, but simply because you are daddy, husband, son or friend.
Last week when I drove into the parking lot to pick up my eldest daughter from high school, I could tell something was wrong.* She got into the car and told me that her locker had been broken into that day and she lost her department sweat shirt, lunch bag and Chinese Class Notebook. Not only was she dismayed that someone at her school would break into her locker, but with a Chinese test and Notebook Check later that week, this was a tear-worthy event.
She didn’t know what to do. She had reported it to the office and had thought about anyone who might be pranking her, but in the end was just not sure what to do about her homework?
My sweet baby still needed her daddy and little did she know, his criminal mastermind ways
As we drove out of the parking lot, I suggested that we go back and look through the garbage cans and see if anyone had just tossed the stuff somewhere.
“Really, why would my stuff be in the garbage can?”
“Because someone probably saw an opportunity to act a fool and just took your stuff. Once they saw what it was, they got rid of it as soon as they could.”
So back to the school we went. After walking the halls a bit and checking in with her friends who were still on campus . . . lo’ and behold in the garbage can closest to her locker we found her Chinese Notebook. No sweatshirt or lunch bag, but those can be replaced. As she grabbed the notebook, you could feel her anxiety being replaced by relief.
When we got back into the car our adventure ended with this exchange.
To no one in particular, “Thank God for my level-headed daddy.”
Teasingly I looked at her and said, “Just remember that the next time you think your daddy is being an idiot.”
And with a wry smile and perfect timing, “Oh, don’t worry idiots can be level-headed too.”
Well played young one. Well. Played.
I am so grateful for the people in my life who need me to be there for them and at the same time remind me that I am not in this chaotic world left to fend for myself. They keep me humble, grounded and open to the world beyond my own eyes and my own accomplishments. Regardless of our particular calling/s in life: writer, teacher, barrista, programmer or care-giver we all need people in our world who simply love us . . . even level-headed idiots.
* Yes, I was given permission to tell this story.