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Let Me Work!


I heard her calling upstairs, yet again. This was the third time in fifteen minutes.

“Go to sleep!” I shouted at the ceiling, hoping my daughter would let me have just a little bit longer to finish something.

Preschoolers need naps. Daddies need to work.

She gave me another five minutes before calling for me again. Even though I knew it was a lost cause at this point, I went up to her room and gave her “the stare.”

Robert DeNiro would have been impressed by its intensity.

My daughter peeked out with one eye from under the covers.

“I told you… to go to sleep.” I said this slowly and deliberately. It was the most intense I could be to communicate my frustration without crossing the line of scaring her.

“But… I have to go potty,” she offered. Her one eye widened with moping innocence that trumped my tough-guy demeanor.

She won this round.

“Okay,” I offered. “Let’s go.”

On the way to the bathroom I noticed through the window what a nice day it was outside.

“Sweetie,” I began, formulating a plan in my head, “I’d like you to get some socks on. We’re going to go outside and play.”

j6"Yes!" she beamed.

It was a beautifully-constructed strategy. I would let my almost-four-year-old loose on the trampoline, playset and sandbox in our backyard while I sat on our porch and worked on my laptop. We made our way outside, I plugged my computer into a nearby outlet and released her into hours of play that any kid would be jealous of.

It lasted six minutes.

“I need help with my shoes,” she broadcasted across the yard.

I looked over and she was already off the trampoline. Her shoes were a few feet away.

“Just reach for them,” I replied.

“But I will get my socks dirty,” she defended.

“Take your socks off,” I countered.

“I don’t want the ants to chomp me with their teeth.”

“Go fast.”

“Oh.” She began the process, which meant I had two minutes to cram some quick work in.


“Dad, there’s a bug on my sandbox.”

“What?” I mumbled. That was the quickest two minutes of my life.

“There’s a bug on my sandbox.”

“Step on it.” Type-type-type-type.

Pause. “It’s not working.”

“Step on it again.” Type-type-type-type.

Pause. “It’s still not working.”

“Step on it again.” Type-type-type-type.

Pause. “It’s working! But, can I play in the front yard?”

“No, Daddy’s working.” Type-type-type-type.

A few minutes passed.

j4Suddenly someone was grinning at me.

“Hi, Dad.” Somehow she had used some sort of newfound ninja skills to creep up on the other side of my screen. Her smile melted me, but only for a moment.

“Hi, honey. Please... please... let me work.”

“Okay,” she said, slumping into a nearby chair. I resumed typing, while she sat and made random cooing noises. It was a passive-aggressive attempt to let me know she was bored.

“Mah-mah-mah… la, la, la… blaaaaaaaaa…”


“Harmph… harmph… harmph…”


“Zurp…. Zip… huh? Ah!”

“Sweetie, please let me work.”

j3“Okay,” she complied, heading off the porch into something new.

Type-type-type-type. Type-type-type-type. Type-type-type-type.

I was in the zone.

The sun was shining.

The birds were chirping.

The cure for the common cold was formulating in my head.

Peace was taking place in the Middle East.


No… no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no-no! That was it. I was beyond exasperated.

j1“I brought this flower for you.” She placed a dandelion right next to my laptop. “I wanted you to keep this.”

I looked at her for just a moment.

Her eyes were shining, as if they were chirping.

The cure for the common frustration was formulating inside me, as peace settled into the middle of my chest.

Instantly, I had in her in my arms and melted my presence into hers. She sighed and cooed in my embrace.

“I love you, honey.”

“I love you, too, Daddy.”

j2My work could wait. I needed to be present. I wasn't even sure what I was working on anyway.

But in hindsight, I think it may have been this blog post.

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