OOPS. Found this post in my drafts folder and realized I never published it!
Last week I purchased a gingerbread house kit to assemble and decorate with Noah. To say he’s been excited would be a serious understatement. Before the sun ever came up this morning I felt hot, quick breath on my face. I peeled my eyes open and met those of Noah, unblinking, huge, less than an inch away. “Dad, we’ve gotta do the gingerbread house!” he said.
“You bet,” I told him. “But first we gotta do all that stuff we talked about last night.”
Noah turned into a little white tornado. An hour later the house was clean.
An hour after that, laundry was flowing through with no mercy.
Half an hour after that, we were both showered, clean, and dressed for the day. Ready… for… gingerbre…
It was Noah’s mom.
“Did you remember that this afternoon is Noah’s Christmas concert?” Crap. I had forgotten completely and told her so. She reminded me that he needed a santa hat and a red, white, or green shirt for the concert. I assured her it’d get done, and made plans to meet her there.
“Bad news, buddy.” I told Noah who was already bracing himself for it after hearing the phone call. “We can’t do gingerbread houses right now.”
He had worked hard. I expected him to be bummed.
I discussed with him our quandary, and he decided he definitely didn’t want to be the only kid shaking jingle bells without a santa hat or the right shirt.
So, instead of making gingerbread houses, we headed to the store and found a santa hat and a red polo shirt.
“Dad, can we please do the gingerbread house when we get home?”
I looked at my watch.
There wasn’t going to be enough time. There were a couple things I had to get done myself before his concert, and I wasn’t going to be able to help him and get my stuff done.
I told him so.
He looked like he’d been punched in the gut. I felt like crap. And then Noah had this incredible idea.
“Dad, how about I just do it by myself while you do some work?”
I laughed and almost immediately replied, “no.” After all, a four-year old wouldn’t know how to do a gingerbread house all by himself. Surely it would be a disaster.
But then I thought, I don’t know, maybe he could. And then I looked at those giant eyes of his that were desperate to do this gingerbread house, and I told him okay.
He was elated. The project had just gotten even more fun for him because not only was he going to be building something incredible, Dad trusted him to do it on his own.
So, we went home and I got him all situated. I showed him how to squirt the frosting out and I opened all the bags of candy for him. Then, I hurried upstairs to finish my own stuff. The clock was ticking.
“Dad, I’m done!”
I was also wrapping up.
I was kind of excited to see what he had done. To see if it was a disaster or not.
And… holy crap. It wasn’t a disaster at all. In fact, it was… awesome.
He sat behind his finished house, squirting the remaining frosting onto a cardboard sheet for fun.
“Dad, I told you I could do it!”
I gave him a high-five and showered him with all sorts of holy-crap-that-was-unexpected-and-amazing compliments, and we rushed away to his Christmas concert where he would sing his little heart out, content that his house was built, happy that he had a santa hat, too.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
PS. Any of you other parents ever greatly underestimated the abilities of your kids?