Thursday night I was at dinner with my family; it was a gorgeous evening crisp and clean air quickly cooling by the nightfall from a warm and sunny day. Just one of those great casual evenings consisting of hangout-with-the-family time.
Royce, my seven-year old daughter, was really being quite loving with me. She kept holding my hand and looking at me, and wanting to cuddle. And, she’s my “red personality” (see www.colorcode.com) daughter who is an intense driver and go-g0-go, so this was a little unusual for her. Soon to be six-year old Zoe (who is “Blue”; intimacy, relationships, time, details) is usually the one that wants to cozy up.
Then, springing from some a quiet moment, an interesting dialogue occurred. And it went, verbatim, just like this.
Royce: “Dad, sometimes I don’t think I could marry anyone, ever.”
Me: “What do you mean, Royce? I expect you’ll get married someday! And I’m sure the guy will be amazing!”
Royce: “Well, it’s just that I love you so much, and you’re the best Dad in the world, and I can’t imagine anyone better than you! Seriously, you are the best Dad I’ve ever met. Ever! I don’t think I can ever find someone as good as you that I love so much.”
Me: “Royce, that’s is probably one of the sweetest things anybody has ever said to me, you really think I’m a great Dad?”
Royce: “Of course! You’re the best!”
Me: Thanks Royce…But, really, and I feel kinda bad about this, there are times when I don’t feel like such a good Dad to you and Zoe.”
(side note: I’m completely expecting Royce to fully refute my feelings of inadequacy as a Dad, so in retrospect I’m not sure this was quite a genuine response from me–if anything, I was probably looking for a little validation!).
So Royce continues without even a hesitation…
Royce: “Well, that’s because there are times you aren’t such a good Dad. But that’s okay, I love you no matter what and still think you’re the best Dad out there!”
And that was, perhaps, one of the most authentic, transparent, and unconditional moments of love that I’ve felt from another human being in my entire life.
I say it to my kids all the time that “I love you, no matter what”, but to hear it in the context of a very real assessment of my imperfections (because the truth was that day I wasn’t being a very lovable Dad!) made tonight’s moment something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
Royce, thanks for a such an authentic experience about what it REALLY means to love someone…no matter what.
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