Dad Definition.


I watch as my kids jump from the coffee table, over the dog, catch some toy in mid-air one sister threw to another, and land on to the sofa. I watch this with a sense of fear and phantom pain in my knees my children do not seem to worry about.  As parents, we spend countless hours and countless ‘No’s’ teaching our kids about fear.  We warn them about the dangers of the street, using knives at dinner, playing on the steps, and why we can’t have a television set next to the tub (at least with mine I did).  A little fear in kids can be good for their sake and safety and yours. Sometimes it takes extremes to instill that little bit of fear. A trip to the emergency room (complete with a child sized neck brace…she hasn’t jumped on her bed since) and other times, all it takes, is for the lights to go out…

Growing up I had to deal with a particularly nasty monster in my bedroom. Once or twice a week I was visited by a hideous monster who glowed green and growled an awful lot. The only safe haven I had from this creature of unknown origins was to get under my bed as quickly as possible. It seemed the monster had two weaknesses…bending over to look under the bed for scared children to devour and my dad.
Vigilant nightly visits from my Dad, scouring my room for any signs of the radiating creature of evil, was all it took to get him to leave my bedroom and for me to finally get a full night sleep on top of my bed (I was hoping Dad somehow could send the monster over to Mike Wenger’s house across the street. If anyone deserved his bones being gnawed by the dripping jaws of a monster it was that kid).
Fast forward to today and I am on my hands and knees making sure the ghouls who, according to my daughter, are not only living in her bedroom but are just waiting for me to close the door so they can pounce, are nowhere to be found.  This night I am looking for signs of drool puddles, slime trails from oozing Boogeymen in the closet, or  green glows from under the bed or hiding in the shadows conveniently covering my daughter’s room.
I was called in to rid her room of things that go bump in the night (and look for little girls who might make a tasty midnight snack). It could possibly be from my previous experience dealing with my own Boogeyman.  Maybe she trusts that if confronted with some horrid creature of the night, I can somehow hold my own in combat (although no monster real or imaginary would stand a chance against her mother if she were properly provoked)?  
Whatever her reasons, my role as her dad has been defined. I am in her room scanning it for ghouls, ghosts, and Boogeymen, ready to defend my worried little girl seeking cover under her ‘Hannah Montana’ comforter.
I report to Hannah a room free from any ill tempered terrors and she puts her head down in her pillow.  I can see the relief in her tired eyes.  I give a reassuring kiss to her forehead and she closes her eyes satisfied with my (lack of) findings.
Tonight my little girl was worried about what might be hiding in her room. So tonight, when she asked, I obliged, to be the eliminator of ghosts, ghouls, and boogeymen lurking in the shadows of her bedroom, or in other words…dad.

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