My daughter is of the age that she can really express affection, appreciation and emotions of any kind. There was the time, a few weeks ago, when she gave me an enthusiastic hug and said, "you’re a baseball player!" after seeing me in a Bobby Abreu baseball jersey. Moments like that make you love being a father.
Yesterday was another one of those moments. We were indulging a pregnancy-inspired craving for ice cream at Friendly’s and I put $1 in one of those joystick-operated machines where you move a claw around to pick up a stuffed animal. On my second try I maneuvered the claw towards a Clifford doll, and pressed the button to drop the claw. After a moment of hesitation, the claw grabed Clifford upside down by the butt, pulled him out of the pile of animals and towards the chute. I had flashbacks of the movie Toy Story as this was happening, imagining Clifford saying to the other animals, "I have been chosen! I am off to a better place!"
Well, when I returned to the table to show my daughter what I had for her, you would have thought that I just gave her the world. She was just tickled – hyper-excited about her new toy. Clifford was jumping around her high chair and the table at Friendly’s, playing hide-and-seek, wagging his tail, looking for Emily Elizabeth, and singing songs. He provided more than enough entertainment to keep our daughter entertained while our server milked the cows and painstakingly made the ice cream.
And one more thing. When I got back to the table with Clifford in hand, the dad of a little girl at the next booth raised his eyebrows and gave me an approving nod, acknowledging my fatherly feat.