“All things truly wicked start from innocence.”
— Ernest Hemingway
Sometimes we all encounter circumstances that, no matter how hard we try, are simply beyond our control. Without question, it’s intimidating, but how one handles that out-of-control feeling matters most.
Now I know I’m not the only person in the world who works long hours. Often when things come up in the newsroom and a decision must be made to assign a not-so-glamorous story, I tell myself, “if they called it anything other than work, well it just wouldn’t be quite so bad.”
Well, I don’t see what we do as work. I enjoy it. Not too long ago, I told somebody that people have hobbies like golf, Civil War re-enacting or falconry. My hobby is newspapering.
It’s not some vision of grandeur or superior persona; I’m just a little crazy like that.
But that’s not to say it doesn’t get me in trouble sometimes.
Not 24 hours prior to the typesetting of this column, my lovely wife, Mary, pointed out in a less-than-civil tone how much time I spend actually working. She’s right…a lot, and all I could do was apologize – I do that quite a bit – agree and hope she would move on to some other shortcoming I possess. After all, she has her pick at quite a few of them.
Last weekend, my increasingly time-consuming hobby created one rather large problem at the Felkins home.
It was about 3 a.m. when I finally called it quits for the night and set the laptop down. To make matters worse, it was also the night before – rather morning of – the return from spring break.
Now I’m not sure, but I’ve been told Webster’s Dictionary defines spring break’s end as “(n) the end of life as schoolchildren know it; the day when weary-eyed children awake from a two-week slumber – at least while the sun is out – to return to school; a sentence slightly better than Hades.”
So just as our heads were about to hit the pillows, a faint whimpering could be heard coming from our 6-year-old daughter’s room.
Let me pause here to say that I know I write about my family in this space quite a bit, possibly far too much. But this story should be told in an effort to possibly raise awareness. Call it a public service announcement, if you will.
Keep in mind, a little whimpering is not all that uncommon, even at 3 a.m. Remember the sleeping while the sun is out reference? I cannot fathom why children become vampires during breaks from school. Maybe it’s withdrawals. Maybe I’m getting old.
It’s not uncommon for the youngest Felkins to have a bad dream or simply not be able to sleep, so usually a little whimpering is conjured to draw attention.
I instantly knew, however, this time was much different when Mary let out this scream, gasp, sigh combination as she entered Bryley’s room.
Then I hear, “Go show your daddy what you have done.” That’s definitely a phrase you don’t want to hear.
As she entered the bedroom, it was truly shocking. Bryley apparently got a hold of some scissors and decided she needed a haircut. And let me just say it was thorough.
My first instinct was to give her a spanking, which I acted upon rather quickly.
Then I went into her room and picked up a sizeable handful of Bryley’s golden locks. Knowing there was absolutely nothing that could be done about it at that time of morning, we put her in bed and retired again to ours.
But sleep didn’t immediately come as both of us pondered where we had failed as parents.
The next morning, we received some help in the form of a 911 beauty shop emergency as Bryley’s locks that formerly fell about mid back were reduced to about 2 inches all over. I told you she was thorough.
In retrospect, when faced with adversity in an uncontrollable situation, I’d say I probably don’t deserve a gold star. But if there’s anything to those “scared straight” programs where borderline adolescents are taken into prisons, well maybe my parenting skills aren’t that bad after all.
As for the outcome, Bryley has a cute new do just in time for summer, she’s probably not going anywhere near scissors at least until she’s a teen and I could probably use a vacation from my hobby.
Jared Felkins is The Democrat’s director of content. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @paperboyfelkins.