Does My Daughter Know I Exist?

This morning, as usual, I’m up before my two daughters and one wife. It was the same yesterday morning, too. I was in the bathroom. I heard the ladies emerge from their quarters with the sounds of turning door knobs then the creaks of wooden floors and then heel-to-toe steps to the living room where my little hens converged to begin their respective days.

I could hear all their chatter as I sat on the shitter a few feet down the hall. I listened with fatherly pride, too, and amusement, as my wife orchestrated the early morning goings on. “Mom, could I have screen time,” asked Xaria. She is six-years-old, and she is into watching these two little English broads who appear regularly on the Ellen Show. They sing and dance and incessantly rant about their likes and dislikes, and they’re always dressed like princesses. Xaria is pretty much rendered incapacitated under their spell. “Yes, you may, Xaria.” Then I heard my wife turn her attention to Iris. Iris was screeching at the top of her lungs, not in anguish, but in pure joy of being in the same room with her mom and sister, I guess. I mean what else could she be giddy about? Guen mimicked her baby sounds and the two jumped into an early morning game of copy-cat, a Cisneros pastime of sorts. 

And I’m in the John. I was pretty much done, but I was content to sit and listen to the morning cacophony of the three girls I live with. Then I got lost in thought. 

Iris was the loudest in the room. She is ten-months-old, and on this morning, she has yet to see me. I knew that Xaria and Guen would greet me with a “Good morning, Daddy,” as soon as I walked into the room. This simple greeting is one of the precious, tiny gifts that comes with fatherhood.

I was thinking about Iris, though. As she scuttled around the room in her walker making do-do, dada sounds and bumping into every piece of furniture we own, I was wondering if she maybe thought about where i was? Does she know I exist? Does she have the tools at her age to think or wonder about me? Or will it be a “Hey, I remember this guy,” moment when she finally sees me?

If this last scenario is the case, then it happens everyday with Iris. And if this is the case, she doesn’t miss me when I go away and return hours later. Actually, this may be the only scenario. I know she can’t blurt out, “Where’s Dad?” I don’t believe she wonders about me, so in a way, it’s a surprise party for her every time I walk in to the room! 

She’s lucky, I guess! Wouldn’t it be nice if our relationships were like this in adulthood. I could wake up next to my wife every morning, roll over and after eye contact yell out, “Hey, what’s up? How are you? It’s good to see you? Where’ve you been?” and just convulse in excitement. Or at work you could run up to your colleagues and administrators on a Tuesday and give them huge hugs and scream, “Whoa! How you guys doing? I remember you! Where were you? It’s been a while!”

Come to think of it, I’m writing this in the early morning. Iris has yet to see me this morning. I have a feeling that a surprise party is about to go down!

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