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Monday, June 10, 2013

That's Why She Has Two Parents

I’ve been freelance writing for 14 years, and I’ve received more positive feedback on this piece, first published in June of 2002, than any other.

Sometimes, in the words of Joni Mitchell, you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.  But I knew what we had in 2002.  Amanda's Dad died in a car accident in 2007.  And after almost seven years of solo-parenting, the irony of this piece isn’t lost on me.

I decided June of 2013 was a good time to truck it out again.

That’s Why

Amanda and I were coloring together, and half of her markers didn’t work. I tried to get her to sort though them and toss the dried-out ones. She wouldn’t hear of it. Later, I found her and her Dad happily...
...testing markers and throwing away the duds. “How did you manage to convince her to throw them away?” I asked. “I promised to get her some new ones,” he replied.

That’s why Amanda has two parents.

The first time she went down the waterslide during swimming lessons, she got water in her nose, and she was scared. I fretted because she had been looking forward to the day she could finally do it. Now it was spoiled for her. She told her Dad what happened, and he said, “You went down the waterslide all by yourself?! What a big girl! I’m proud of you!” She beamed, and she said she couldn’t wait to try it again.

That’s why Amanda has two parents.

Amanda wasn’t picked to be in the first-grade math club. She cried. I consoled her. I explained how life had its disappointments. Her Dad said, “Who needs their old math club? We’ll form our own math club!” And they did.

That’s why Amanda has two parents.

I know how lucky I am to be able to sit down in my blue chair to retell the events of the day with Amanda’s Dad. Amanda’s Dad gets the jokes, shares the concerns, celebrates the milestones, and offers fresh eyes on it all.

And that’s why Amanda has two parents.

Contributed by Elaine Jack, Assistant Editor, Today's Family magazine.


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