When I picked up Hope from the waiting area at school today, she glanced at me across the room, raised her arms as she usually does and ran toward me.
“Daddddyyyyyy!!!!!!!” she screamed.
She’s an extremely imaginative girl, and almost daily Hope assigns me a character – be it Orange Blossom, the Grumpy Old Troll, or the Hairy Dragon. Recently, she’s decided I’m “Daddy”.
So I should not have been surprised when she shouted the name. But her enthusiastic greeting unnerved me, and I self-consciously looked around at the other parents sitting in the waiting room.
“Uh… hi, Hope.”
“Daddy, are you ready to ride the train for Hope and Daddy day???” She rambled on about afternoon plans – plans that we did not have.
I looked up at her teacher who hunched her shoulders in a sympathetic shrug. “She’s been saying all day that her Daddy was picking her up from school today. I told her that someday he would…”
At a recent school meeting, one of Rhema’s teachers told about their efforts to decrease her “grabbing.” Faster than Swiper the fox, Rhema will often snatch another child’s lunch or things off her desk as soon as her teacher puts it down. Rhema’s teacher said that they’d been working to keep her hands down at the table and they were tracking a decrease in grabbing. She went on to say that Rhema still grabs during the Family ID program (this is when pictures of Brandon, Hope, and me are placed on the table and Rhema must try to receptively identify us). Rhema only ever grabs and clutches the picture of “Dad.”
We’re doing o.k. here. The house is still standing. Rhema has her everyday challenges. Hope indulges in a meltdown on occassion and has been known to exhibit the three-year old ‘tude. But they have many wonderful people in their lives that help make them happy, well-loved little girls. Autumn and winter have passed for them, full and fun.
But every now and then they show me.