Guest post of the day is by Bryan, the ever so clever author of both nuclearheadache and The Encyclopedia of Counted Sheep.
On New Year's Eve she went to spend the night over at a friend's house. I came by the next afternoon to pick her up. I rang the doorbell, and when the friend's mother showed up, I explained to her that I was Lea's father. She said only, "Okay", and then closed the door in my face. So there I was on the porch, and almost a full ten minutes had passed and my daughter hadn't come out yet. At that point, my wheels started to spin. I started to think that they either had her tied up in the basement and they were consulting on how much of a ransom to ask for, or something bad had happened. I imagined this conversation between the mother and father (we'll call them Alice and Bill.):
Alice: He's here! What are we going to do?
Bill: He's going to know about it sooner or later. It was an accident. I'm sure he'll understand.
Alice: He'll understand!? Bill, her head came completely off.
Bill: I'll just get some duct tape and...
Alice: This is serious. He's going to call the police.
Bill: Well, get him to come inside. I'll just beat him to death with my old bowling trophy, and then we'll ditch the bodies in the back yard.
Alice: Alight, go find the trophy.
At that moment, if the mother had poked her head out and said, "She'll be out in a couple of minutes. You wanna come in and have some coffee.", I probably would have grabbed her, dragged her through the door, and demanded to see my daughter. Alright, well maybe I would have and maybe I wouldn't have. Clearly I'm exaggerating, but I was getting a little worried. When my daughter finally showed up, I said, "I've been waiting out here for like ten minutes."
"We were in the middle of doing something." Wonderful.
But it's a balance. It's a fine line you have to walk. If I let my anxieties run away with me, then I'd be doing her more harm in the long run. She has to learn to take those first fragile steps in the world, or she'll never be able to survive if she's confronted with this insanity that we call "real life" all at once. And so I let her go, but as she's heading out the door, I always say, "Be careful." I have no idea what that's suppose to mean. Neither does she.