I talked to Kyla today. Her mom had called me and I missed the call because I was - well - on the phone with the Script at the time.
I know. I'm namedropping.
Anyway, she called me to let me know a few things related to Kyla and her dance class and stuff... and when I called her back, she filled me on these things and then told me that Kyla wanted to thank me for making sure she got some stuff she needed... and a toy she wanted...
... but she was pissed off and sad.
So I got her on the phone and I could tell she had been crying.
"Hiiiii dadddy..." she said as if she was holding back tears...
"are you sad, Kyla? I asked," knowing the answer. That unleashed the floodgates and on came the tears.
She went on to explain to me that she was sad that she didn't get any Zhu Zhu Pet accessories at Target. She instead got a Littlest Pet Shop toy she wanted and her mother picked up some stuff on the card at Target for a friend of Kyla's who - well - doesn't have what Kyla has when it comes to the Zhu Zhu Pets.
Santa was good to Kyla this Christmas.
But anyway, her mom did what parents do. She picked up some for her friend and her son who is Kyla's friend and let Kyla pick something else she wanted. As kids do, Ky wanted the accessories. So when I got on the phone with her she was in full on "I'm sad" mode.
"I really wanted those Zhu Zhu Pet accessories dadddddddyyyyyy...." she said between sniffles and tears. "But you also wanted the Littlest Pet Shop toy, too didn't you," I asked.
"Yes" she said with some sniffles and tears.
"Well why are you sad - you got something you really wanted?"
She then went back to sniffles and tears and explained to me that she wanted them too and that they might not be there when they go back to Target or Wal Mart next time and that she really wanted them...
Then she asked me if I would get them for her.
I told her that I could but what would that matter right now? She was sad right now and she shouldn't be sad because she had absolutely nothing to be sad about... That's when I started in on the things she has that she should be thankful for...
"You have a mommy and a daddy who love you... and you're our only little girl... so we SPOIL YOU... right?"
"Yeah... she said..."
"And you had an amazing Christmas and Santa brought you so much stuff right?"
"Yeah..." she said.
"What about the mail... don't you get post cards and presents and things and surprises from me like ALL the time?"
"Yeah..." she said with some more sniffles...
"And didn't you get something you really wanted today?"
"... AND I HAVE FOUR TZU TZU PETS too..." she said.... the laughing coming through the tears a bit as reality took hold.
"Kyla, we love you and we want to give you everything, but you can't have it all at once. It's just not possible, but you have so much to be happy about and thankful for, how could you possibly be crying???" I said.
I think she got it because the conversation moved to toys she had and things she loves and - well - she realized, I think, that she's not so bad off.
After filling in her mom on what had transpired between our daughter and I, I got off the phone and said to our intern - who was in the studio at the time I was talking to her - that "global destruction had been averted and the child had been talked off the ledge so we could go on to another day..."
The truth is, what I told her is true for all of us. Life isn't so bad. Even if it sucks, it's not so bad. We have - for the most part - the chance to get pretty much everything we could ever hope for. Our needs are pretty much met. If they're not, we have the chance to get them met if we just give a little bit and try.
I parent like James Dean once urged us to live life. To "dream as if you'll live forever and to live as if you'll die today..."
It's pretty much the way I live my life.
And it's why - even at the end of a day like today - I can see clearly what is most real about this life. At least to me. That I can look in the mirror and know I gave my best. I know the nature of my heart and soul. And I know I've parented - and lived - the best that I possibly can.
It's my hope for you tonight.
Dream. And live.
Goodnight from Washington...
... or just outside of it, 11.1 miles from the White House.