Last week my wonderful wife got hired to be a high school biology teacher. She worked so hard to get to this place and I couldn’t be more proud of her. Part of this new season involves us leaving Clara with Alycia’s sister Tuesday through Friday. We are so grateful to have someone whom we implicitly trust so close to watch Clara. Mondays she’s unavailable, though, which means Daddy Day Care is in session for me.
Yesterday was my first day at home alone with Clara. I’ve been alone with her before, but not for such an extended period of time. I was a little nervous going in and already tired because Clara has recently been waking up a lot during the night. Nervous or not, Alycia was going to work at 6:30 and I was going to be alone with a very small human.
In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Offspring,” Data creates a “child” for himself. In his desire to become more human, Data wants the experience of raising a child. He takes it upon himself to teach his “daughter” Lal about social behavior and how to interact with humans. It was intriguing to see Data raise his daughter and wrestle with what it meant to be a father.
Clearly I don’t have as many issues to confront as Data; I don’t have a Starfleet admiral telling me to turn Clara over so that she can be studied. But yesterday I did wrestle with what it meant to be a father.
Even though she didn’t want to drink the formula from a bottle and cried any time I put it in her mouth, I knew that she needed to eat.
Even though I was a little upset when she woke up from her nap because I had work to do, I was so excited to see her smiling face staring back at me.
Even though I would have much rather just hung out with her all day, I knew that I needed to work in order to support her and our family.
As a father I’m constantly wrestling with all the other roles in my life. I’m trying to figure out how being a father goes along with everything else I do. Sometimes all I want to do is play video games, but I know that I need to go to bed early so that I can wake up in the middle of the night to be with Clara. Sometimes being a good father means being a good husband and doing whatever I can to take care of Alycia.
Like Data I’m not a perfect father but, by the way she smiles at me, I think Clara is going to continue offering me grace. I enjoyed being at home with Clara, which didn’t surprise me. Things didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked, but in the end I got to spend 10 hours with my baby girl. I know that when I’m walking her down the aisle in some number of years, I’ll long for days like yesterday when it was just her and me…and maybe a little crying.