I spent the better part of the day with a sweet little girl who kept asking me where her sister was, and I kept responding, “She’s with Grandmom.” She told me that was okay, and yet ten minutes later she would ask again. Then I started to wonder if she wasn’t just telling me “sissy” because she was joking with me. So the next time she asked about her sister I asked her the same question in return. She said, “Grandmom,” and smiled the widest smile I had ever seen. She had been joking with me, so I smiled back and tickled her.
But those times are rare, the two of us sharing a private joke, because her sister is usually there interrupting with an anecdote, or a My Little Pony quiz (“What does Fluttershy look like?”). I’m so used to those interruptions that I think I honestly build in pauses when I speak now. But today there were no pauses necessary. Just me and the littlest McManus. It was an honest-to-goodness Daddy and Maddie show.
I used to pick Maddie up from pre-K most days for the past three years, and it is a time I will always treasure because it gave us a chance to have our own routine apart from Mommy, or from Sissy. We hadn’t really had those opportunities before she started school, and the time quickly became special to me, and yes, definitely a routine as well. That half an hour every day became known to me as the Daddy and Maddie show, starring a middle-aged man and his adorable three-year old, then four-year old, then five-year old.
And that time is over now, but I can use it as an excuse to find other times, other Daddy and Maddie opportunities, like today, with just the two of us. Her sister was making her way down to Philadelphia with Grandmom, and my wife was working a rare evening, so it gave me and Maddie a chance to put on another show. We went to the backyard so she could use the pool, and she even let me help get her into her life vest. We played the Ladybug Game, and she won, of course. She even helped me fold and put away the laundry.
All in all it was an amazing show, just the two of us spending time together. At the end of the night it was time for me to tuck her in. She got herself under the covers, and I asked her before I left, “Do you want me to turn on the nightlight or leave it off?” Her response was to leave it off, so I did, and I told her good night. About five minutes later I heard talking from the direction of her room, so I went to see what was going on. She was sitting up in bed and saying, “Light on.” So I turned it on, she said thank you, and tucked herself back in. “Night,” she told me, and I smiled.
What a great show. After all, It’s my favorite program.