“All fathers are invisible in daytime; daytime is ruled by mothers, and fathers come out at night. Darkness brings home fathers, with their real, unspeakable power. There is more to fathers than meets the eye.”
— Margaret Atwood
At the writing of this column, I’m sitting in my easy chair. I’m warm, have everything I need, and that includes my family around me. I’m blessed.
As I write, I can her my 4-year-old daughter, Bryley, barking orders at her older sister. They share a room, and tonight is her first to sleep on the top bunk.
I guess she’s officially grown.
Thursday will mark her fifth birthday, but she’s been talking like a grown-up for years.
The same night just a few hours prior to the writing of this column, I was at my computer when an instant message popped up from my wife.
It read, “Bryley just said she was tired of daddy coming home in the middle of the night. She’s so funny.” Well at that moment I started packing up to head home. That was all the inspiration I needed.
She’s right, you know. I do work probably more than I should. There’s a lot that goes into being a newspaper editor, and recent projects have required extra attention. I’ve heard it time and again working in newspapers is a thankless job. I think the same can be said for being a father.
You see, all that work that keeps me at the office all those long hours is in an attempt to make The Democrat the best it can be for our readers. I’d like to think it’s for Bryley, and our other two children, too, even though that work keeps me from spending more time with them. Talk about a conundrum.
It’s now 10:30 p.m., and Bryley just bopped down the stairs a few minutes ago to say, “Daddy, I haven’t had supper.”
Now, even though I know that’s not true, I give her the benefit of the doubt and ask, “Why?”
“I don’t know,” she responds in the most pitiful voice one might ever imagine. Those three syllables stretched to about 17 when it was all said and done.
“So what would you like?” I ask her.
“A little Lunchable,” she tells me.
Just then, her mother chimes in to tell on the 4 year old, and says she’s already had three today.
“Go get you one,” I tell her. It doesn’t take much to get me to give in, and both my daughters know, and take advantage of, that fact well.
On her way back upstairs to eat her “little Lunchable,” I ask, “Why do you love daddy?”
“Because you get me what I need,” she says, and she couldn’t be speaking more truth if she tried.
At the writing of this column, the fact is this night is really no different from any other around the Felkins household, except that I came home a few hours earlier than normal.
There’s really little I believe that would surprise me when it comes to conversations with Bryley, but I’m constantly surprised nonetheless.
There’s no doubt I love my two oldest children, but this one is all about my blonde-haired, blue-eyed princess. With my wife, Mary; son, Bryant; daughter, Bailey; and, of course, Bryley, there are four reasons how I know love exists and couldn’t get any stronger.
And then, at that point, it’s when I’m surprised once again. It can.
To say I’m blessed is an understatement. Blessed doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Happy birthday, Bryley. May you stay my little “squirt” forever.
Jared Felkins is The Democrat's director of content. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @paperboyfelkins.