April 16, 2013 was not lining up to be a good day.
Before the day had already started, I was off to a bad start. I had effectively spaced off my daughter’s day off, forcing frantic requests for two of my co-workers — one to cover my shift, the second for Co-Worker No. 2 to plug a hole in Co-Worker No. 1’s schedule. It also dawned on me fairly quickly afterward, my wife’s warnings the past month aside, that I would have my little one in tow pretty much all day. This was making for one bored child and one harried parent….all day long…
It didn’t get any better after the day actually broke. Between waking up late and not brushing her hair and dealing with malfunctioning and disconnecting bill pay options by phone, I was about pulled-rubber-band tense. And that was before our weekly staff meeting and realizing there was more on my plate just for today than I expected.
Usually when I get tense, I get tight-lipped or lippy…sometimes both. Today it was tight-lipped, which was probably best for my daughter’s ears. After the staff meeting, I worked on a couple stories before we had lunch with my wife. Then it was back home to let the dog out, effectively take a short break before heading back to work. She settled into the booster seat with her toys and I put my brain on autopilot on the way back to the station.
Unless my child directly addresses me, I normally catch bits and pieces of what she’s saying as she lets her imagination roam free. My brain’s gears were furiously trying to mesh schedules for everybody the next few days as we pulled into the station parking lot. And it was at that moment when my daughter, in the midst of playing with Ariel and two toys the likes of which I had never seen, fully involved in her own little world, stated one of the most simple truths known to man:
“Hey, you’re not perfect, but you’re still special.”
I don’t know why God lets us be part of certain moments and not others. I could have been covering the Boston Marathon bombing or a meeting somewhere or preparing for a baseball broadcast, for all I know. My daughter could have been at school, polishing her early math skills or running around the playground. Heck, my daughter could have been somebody else’s daughter.
But God let me hear that.
My mind normally goes a mile a minute (a lot of people would say it’s more like a hamster wheel than a steel trap), and whether it’s the work speakers, the TV, music or thoughts about work, home duties, work, occasional daydreams and work, there isn’t much dead air, as we call it. There’s not much reflection time in this brain. So to be part of a moment like that now is, well, I hate to say it but pretty shocking. I was fortunate — blessed, honestly — to get that reminder, to review that lesson on a day where I truly needed it.
You’re not perfect. You’re still special.
My six-year-old figured that out. How come the rest of us have such a hard time with it?