This is the thanks I get.
Earlier tonight, I informed my daughter it was time for bed. After it, actually. The news was met with unusual tears.
“I was going to make something!” she cried, pathetically.
I could tell it was something important to her. And, since we’d just finished exchanging Valentine’s Day gifts with my mom and dad, I reckoned what she wanted to make was something for us.
“Okay,” I said. “But make it quickly.”
Instantly, she went to work. She emerged minutes later holding three small hearts cut from paper and drawn with her markers, displaying Valentine-like terms such as “xoxo“ and “I love you.” One was for my mom, another for my dad and the third for me.
Parts of my life have been easier for me than the part I’m currently in. I feel like I work all of the time to earn a living. Then I feel like I work when I get to the house just to make a home. I’m exhausted by the time I get to the part of my day when I can just “be” with my daughter. Some days, it never comes.
And while I try not to get down about it, the other person who created Kalista is living her life a state away. Her life. She visits when it’s convenient for her, contributes nothing financially and continues to receive the unconditional love of our daughter. It doesn’t seem fair.
Why can’t my only responsibility in life be raising Kalista? Where is the time I need to teach her the things I’ve always wanted her to learn? Can’t somebody make her mom at least buy a bag of groceries every once in a while?
There it was tonight, staring me straight in the eye from three feet below, holding a scrap of heart-shaped paper. That is what I get out of this.
I get the walks into school to attend a Valentine’s Day party for first-graders. I get dinners on TV trays with her in front of cartoons. I get her riding her bike by my side when I go for a jog. I get 20 I-love-yous a day, unlimited kisses and at least 55 grins from the time she wakes up to the moment she falls asleep. I get the paper hearts. These are the thanks I get.
“You’re welcome,” I say.