The King of Mistakes
I woke up in a panic as my baby girl started to cry. “Okay, wet diaper!” I thought and quickly brought her to the change station. Her cry got bigger and eventually turned into a screaming frenzy before I finally caught on. No you moron, she is hungry. I quickly fed her. She took the bottle so quickly she spat up. Leaving homemade yogurt on father and daughter. Family-owned dairy farm. Hmmmm… better jolt this one down next time my hands are free.
Later, when she is finally fed, cleaned and satisfied and yawning like a champ I started to reflect. Making mistakes, is this going to be the theme of my fatherhood?
If I gather all the mistakes I am going to make as a father in one bag. In another bag I gather all the mistakes my daughter is going to make. I bet the two bags are going to weigh about the same. So why would I be so unforgiving? Why would I be so harsh? Why would I be so impatient and mad when she makes a mistake later in life? I simply would not. Because I know. I am the King of Mistakes.
Some wise person described walking as falling forward, but constantly catching yourself before you lose control. For every successful NASA launch, thousands and tens of thousands of experiments had to be performed. Two thirds of those experiments had to fail in order for us to learn something important. Every fish landed means four fish that got away. The town of Pisa is fully funded by a huge old mistake. So why are people so hang up on failures? Why can’t they forgive others and themselves? I know I can and I will. Because I am the King of Mistakes.
Is my daughter going to be the Princess of Mistakes? I hope so. I hope she makes loads and loads of little boo-boos so she does not have to make a big uh-oh. Even if she has to make a big uh-oh I hope she can have the courage to keep going and be unafraid. Mistakes are the mother of successes. As long as she does not repeat the same mistakes over and over again she is good in my book.
One day my princess will come to me, awashed in her own tears she will cry on my shoulders. When the sobs end the story will come out. How a stupid boy broke her heart. How she thought he was different. But he is a jerk just like every other boy.
I let her cry. I let her finish her story. I let her feel the pain. I just watch her.
She will say: Dad, why are you looking at me funny?
I will say: Let me tell you about a time long ago, you were five weeks old. I woke up to your screams and thought you needed a diaper change…
… so you see we all make mistakes. You were wrong about that boy. I was wrong about which end of you needed my attention. You are going to be wrong about a lot of boys. But all you have to do is to be right about ONE particular boy. And that will make you live happily ever after. That is how your mother found me. That is how you came to be. ‘We are here to love and be loved. Why else would we be here?
The universe is full of mysterious codes and we are the code breakers. We can be wrong a million times, but we just have to be right once. Then we get to move on to the next stage of the game. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Whatever hurts you makes you smarter. Lose without losing the lesson makes you better.
As her father, each time I make a mistake my daughter will teach me how to do it better. Life is a forgiving mother. Let us be unafraid to take that first step; take that plunge; pop that question; lean forward for that kiss; write that letter; dial that number; knock on that door; say that hello… You may get hurt but you also get to solve that puzzle. Stagnation is the enemy to true happiness. I know because I am the King of Mistakes.
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