One day when my oldest was just learning to walk, we went to a barbecue at a friend’s house. As soon as we arrived, I put Lilliana on the grass and she took off to explore. As she approached the stone steps at the tier that separated the upper and lower parts of the yard, the first-time-parent in me decided to hurry over and help her down the steps. On the first step down, I landed poorly and sprained my ankle. I managed to bounce down the remaining couple of steps on my good foot before falling with a firm thud. I finished my acrobatics by rolling onto my side and Lilliana rolled out of my arms into the grass. She promptly sat up and with a smile on her face said, “Again Dada !”
That would have been such a sweet way to end this story had not her squeals of joy been interrupted by my screams of pain. My wife and many of her friends at the party are physicians and they put me in chair, propped up my leg, iced my ankle, and handed me a beer (the last one isn’t medical, but it is medicinal).
The next morning happened to be Father’s Day and we spent it in the urgent care where I was fitted with an air cast and crutches. It is exactly at this point in time that my daughter decides she knows not only how to walk, but how to run, and I spent the next couple of weeks hobbling, hopping, and cursing at her down the sidewalk trying to keep up on my crutches. Even so, whenever I caught up to her, I could reflect on what a perfect Father’s Day gift I had received in knowing that I sprained my ankle, fell down the steps, and my instincts kicked in to keep my baby safe in my arms the whole time.