There was no reason why that moment should have resonated with me more than any of the million other questions a kid asks of their parents. We were playing cards, just before my daughter went to bed, when the 9:00 gun went off in Stanley Park. As she’s done so many times before, she turned to me and asked, “Daddy, what was that?” As I answered the question, I was struck by the utter confidence she had that I would know what the noise had been; her Daddy would know, that look said, and he would explain it to her.
In a way that moment was no big deal, just another question; and yet at the same time, it was a microcosm of what parents go through countless times, every single day. Our children look at us as the people who solve problems, know things, and make things better. Sooner or later (and it seems to be getting sooner and sooner these days) they will realize that their parents don’t know everything, can’t do everything, and can’t fix everything. We try to hold on to that illusion for as long as we can, knowing that inevitably it will fade. They will start to ask their friends, or their teachers, or look it up on the phones that are becoming increasingly ubiquitous, even in elementary schools (why an 11-year old needs to be texting their friends at 10 AM on a Tuesday I’ll never understand, but that’s a different post altogether).
What I’m realizing I need to do, as time passes, is to eventually replace that blind faith kids have in their parents with clear-eyed trust and confidence. I’m not a conditional parent, one that’s there if it’s convenient, or when she’s making all the right decisions. I’ll be there no matter what. The questions will get more difficult, Daddy will (sadly) become Dad, and my little girl will get bigger and bigger, there’s nothing I can do about any of those things. What I hope never changes, what I will make sure as best I can never changes, is the trust in her voice and on her face when she asks me those inevitable questions.