A “girls only” sign hangs on the matte black doorknob to my daughter’s bedroom. Three $1 bills hang half out of my back pocket as I silently turned the handle. I cringe as the floorboards creak under my weight.
“Should have made coffee first.”
9-year-old girl chaos invades my eyes. Everything was strewn randomly about. A cluttered computer desk with paper everywhere, pens, a fan, and stuffies guarding the monitor. A bowl with potato chip crumbs and a can of Spindrift sit atop the keyboard. This morning, in addition to the normal debris of life, in the middle of the room lies a blow-up mattress with a tangle of Troll’s blankets. The head of Harper, my 4-year old, peeks out of the blankets on a rainbow Unicorn pillow. Mermaid PJs snuggle up against a cat stuffy. Sleepover night. Another tangle of grey and black “grown-up” unbranded blankets mound up from the raised Queen bed hard against the window on the far side of the room. The older Madison is in that tangle with her eye mask on. Her head rests on a stack of gray cotton pillows under which is a molar she lost last night. The floor creaks again as I make my way through the chaos. Is this going to be the day she learns the tooth fairy is her father? Man, I wish I had that coffee
“She woke up” I say sitting down on our bed.
“Shit, no way,” my wife says.
“So, it’s my fault?” I say defensively.
The second the words come out of my mouth I get a pang in my chest.
“Regret is a waste of consciousness” my friend says in my ear. So why the pang?
Is Madison the problem for waking up?
My wife for being frustrated and combative?
My own defensiveness?
Lack of coffee?
Mercury in retrograde?
My mind rushes through possibilities and mental models for solutions. Dammit, I should have had the coffee.
“Sorry for being defensive, it’s not your fault” I say.
“I’m going to make coffee. Maybe she’ll fall back asleep.”
I hand her the tooth in its tiny plastic jar and head downstairs to make coffee hoping the tooth fairy didn’t die today.