My 10 year old daughter, Abby, needed some shoes this weekend, and I thought I would give her the royal treatment. It turned out to be that I got the royal treatment. We woke up around 11AM. Abby and I got dressed and went to the mall near our house. My older daughter and wife were going to spend the day together, and we were going to meet up later for dinner. I was going to have some fun with my little munchkin.
Since her older sister wasn't with us, I let Abby have the front seat in the car and right off the bat she had to ask what this button was for and what that one does, like she had never been in my car before. It was cool because we were able to talk about things she was interested in. We got to the mall and went to Champs, an adult shoes store, to replace the the cheap shoes she has been wearing, which I can't stand. She tried on some shoes, and I explained to her that these shoes would be more expensive, but they would be better on her feet, so she would need to take care of them. I told her, "We have to make sure when you buy shoes, you get good quality because think about how much time you spend on your feet - a lot". We both had another place in mind to compare, so she turns to me and says, "Dad, before we decide on these shoes, let's go check on the other place to see if they are better and then decide." Well, of course, the first choice was better so we went back. Shoes purchased! Next stop was to find a winter jacket. I had a place in mind, so we got into the car and went on the freeway toward our destination. On the way to a different mall we were talking about so many things, like about my childhood experiences, my cats when I was little, the cats we have now, bad dreams I use to have when I was little, and why Abby has bad dreams so often, etc. Actually, we talked so much, I missed my exit two times. We laughed. We finally got to the mall but didn't have any luck in finding the jacket, but I did discover she liked Subway. Abby is intelligent but slow to speak because of her learning disability from having Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. She is quite aware of how people are feeling and amazing at making you feel comforted when not at peace. But then she got really quiet and asked a question?
Abby asking in an innocent soft voice, "Dad, are you trying to bond with me?"
My mind just froze. I didn't want to rush to an answer. I knew what I wanted to say back. In my mind, I was thinking to myself today was not about buying shoes, trying to find a jacket, riding in the front seat. It was about bonding with my daughter.
My response back to Abby was, "Abby, for the past several months I have missed not being able to bond with you because of my hearing loss. I miss you. I am so happy we can spend time together. I love having time you."
At the end of the day, I think our relationship got a little bit closer since I have been so grumpy for the past several months being in pain from my hearing recruitment.