June 5, 2003 - Thursday
As much as I worry about alienating Harry by being the heavy - scolding too much, teaching him that you get things by raising your voice - times like tonight help ease my anxiety. I was away again on business for a couple of days and got home right after Harry finished his bath and had gotten into pajamas. (Jeremy was already in his crib for the night.) Harry said he heard the garage door shut, apparently while he was brushing his teeth, and was wondering whether I'd come upstairs. When I opened the bathroom door he became giddy with excitement. I picked him up and hugged him. He unabashedly hugged me back, smiling and giggling all the while. I laid with him for about a half an hour in his bed and we talked and I sang too many songs, but it would have been too hard to come home and expect him to sleep right away. By the time I left he was ready to fall asleep, whether he knew it or not.
There's just no way a child this young (heck, many years older, too) can understand how much a parent bends their own personal life around a child. I don't think the cliché "everything I [the parent] do is for you [the child]" is really right, but I can certainly understand why a parent would rationalize life that way and clearly much of what a parent does is or ought to be done with the child in mind. I think it's more accurate to say that there's very little a parent does that can be done without at least logistical consideration for how it will affect the child. Minimally, parents spend a good deal of mental and emotional capital on their kids, even when pursuing personal interests and activities, and there's no way a child can know that. But, nights like tonight, receptions like Harry's this evening, prove that it's a two-way street.