“You know, you are super important. In fact, you are the most important relationship she will ever have.”
He shifted uncomfortably in his chair across the room as I moved around the exam table to check the little eyes, ears, nose, and throat. He had just said that he felt terribly inadequate as a father, like what he was doing, trying to be there for his kids, would not ever make a difference.
She giggled in spite of her fever when I told her I was going to check her snot boogers. All the little kids do…
“Nah. I’m just her dad,” he said. He cleared his throat quietly.
“Exactly! You are her dad. You will be the first man who will make her feel beautiful. You will help her determine her self worth and from that, studies show, you will affect who and when she marries, her career success, her likelihood of using drugs or alcohol, and how early she starts having sex.”
He cleared his throat again, this time more loudly. I looked over at his face. (The LUMP.) He was trying to clear the lump in his throat. There was a sniff, a few blinks. Then the moment was gone.
Do you see that kiddo? He loves you. Always remember that.
I listened to her heart and lungs, then she hopped off the table and climbed into her daddy’s lap where she rested her head on his chest.
“She has pharyngitis. This is probably viral so the focus is on supportive care for now….”