Runs are peaceful. They're hard, yes, especially when it's 147 degrees out, as it was Sunday morning (at 9:30 a.m. no less), but they're quiet, and I can actually think about something other than where the stupid frakkin (yep, watching too much BSG, I like that word) juice cups are.
Sure enough, I walked inside Sunday (after four deep breaths because I could already hear the screaming from my car), and it's chaos, as usual. Jayden was having one of his powerful, black-hole-mood-creating fits, and Kate had just sent him to his room. And then she broke the news about Andie. Namely, her break.
Andie was clutching her arm. Jayden, apparently, had jumped on her, only he landed on her wrong, and she was holding her wrist. It had already started to swell. Kate, a PE teacher, knows her injuries, and she thought it was broken.
"Daddy!" Andie held out her arms. Sigh. I always thought it was a cliche when parents said they would trade places with their child. Something they really didn't mean. Folks, they mean it. I know that now.
But Andie wanting me to hold her, and not just Kate, confirms something I've noticed lately. I'm actually Parent #2 now. I'm not just a guy to jump on when I'm on the floor trying to stretch after a run. I'm not just a temporary set of arms until Mom's are empty. I'm an option now, and not only that, sometimes I'm the preferred option.
I had long ago accepted the fact that Mom was #1. It's like that with most kids, I was told by many fathers, even my own. I worked hard not to take it personally, though that's harder with twins, given that you're doing just as much (if not more) work than a mother with singletons, let alone any father out there. A little extra love from the kids would be nice given that. But no, it was Mom Mom Mom. OK. I can be a stopgap, I thought.
Sometimes, because of that, I accepted it a little too well. When one was crying, I didn't bother to comfort her, knowing she'd probably just resist my arms anyway and I wasn't in the mood for another rejection. That could have added to them wanting Mom even more. It's possible there was a cycle there.
The cycle, however, appears to be over. I'm not sure what the difference is, but when I ask the girls to come sit with me, they do, or they just climb up the couch with their tiny legs and plop down by me while I'm eating.
Then they start to demand my food.
When Kate finally took Andie out of the Urgent Care facility, she looked at Kate and said, "Go home and see Daddy?" I was at work, but my heart warmed when Kate told me she said that. I made it a point this morning to spend some time with her.
Jayden and I will camp out tonight, and it should be fun, just the two of us. Tuesday I was going to go climbing, but I decided against that, knowing that I have a cool trip planned Friday and that time with the kids is starting to get a lot of fun.
I'll take Andie to the doctor myself Tuesday to figure out what we need to do about this arm.
She'll need me there, and for the first time, probably as much as I need her.