“Mommy! Let’s play the balloon game!” my 2-year-old daughter enthusiastically calls from her playroom.
“OK!” I reply, trying to mirror her same excitement. But in my head I wonder, What’s the balloon game?
So naturally, I begin to throw around the nearly flat balloons we had leftover from Audrey’s birthday party.
“No, no!” she shouts, “That’s not the balloon game.” Umm, I think, then what the heck is?
That evening, I’m telling my husband about the interesting interaction with Audrey earlier. He laughs, and replies, “Well, when we play the balloon game, we throw the balloons around, then hit them with our heads, and act like we can’t find them.” Oh. No wonder I was confused.
After dinner, Brandon and Audrey play the balloon game, correctly.
My husband failed to mention that they also yell, “Where did it go?!” while searching for the lost balloons all over the house.
This situation happens a lot in our home. My husband invents a game, and my daughter asks me to play it later. I usually don’t know the rules, and Audrey is usually irritated that mommy is so clueless.
But, this doesn’t bother me. Actually, I appreciate Brandon’s intentionality so much.
You see, I know how tired my husband is in the evenings. He works long hours, with a long commute, and wants to do nothing else but unwind when he gets home. I’m sure he would prefer to just sit there, scrolling his phone, only occasionally looking up to make sure Audrey isn’t doing something dangerous.
But, he doesn’t. He engages. He talks to Audrey, creates silly games, and builds a strong relationship with his daughter.
They say girls who have issues with their fathers, grow up to have troubled relationships with men. I’m no fortune-teller, but I just don’t see how that future could happen to my girl. To the daughter who is so fiercely loved by her father that he always takes the time and energy to connect with her. No matter how distant he may want to be, he makes sure he’s present. Always.
Brandon usually does bath time. But tonight, he is having a well-deserved night out with friends. Audrey grabs a handful of bubbles, “Mommy, let’s make bubble hats!” Now, this game I can figure out. So we make tall, messy, soapy bubble mounds on our heads. We take selfies, and laugh, and enjoy the moment together—making our bond even stronger.
I am so thankful for my silly husband. For the guy who never takes himself too seriously and always has time for play. For bubble hats, the balloon game, or just a moment to cuddle his little girl.
And even though Audrey doesn’t realize it yet, she’s thankful too.