I walked my girls home from school today. It was cold (-16° C, or 3° F ). I'm fighting off a sore throat. I'm sore from shovelling snow and digging a corridor through our boulevard's three-foot high snowplow-ridge.
My girls were walking at different speeds, and they both wanted to hold my hand. The younger one was purposefully walking in deep snow, and was flinging snow all around her with her free hand. The older one was making her princess doll tread barefoot on the snowbank on her side.
It would have been very, very easy for me to get upset and start barking orders at them to put the doll away and get out of the snowbank and for the fast one to go slower and the slow one to go faster and don't wipe your snot on your mitten and don't eat that snow and....
But I caught myself. Some day these girls will be grown up, and they'll think back on their childhoods. I want them to remember a dad who didn't get mad at unimportant things, for when you're a kid, and your dad is mad, you can't add rationale to his anger or look at extenuating circumstances. He's simply mad, and it's because you did something that upset him.
That's a memory I want to avoid creating. Instead, I want them to remember a dad who was content to let them have a little goofy fun in the winter sun.