"How was your dinner last night?"
"Well, it was okay, but i think there was something wrong with the hummus i bought."
"So, what did you do?"
"I ate the rest, unhappily."
I'd left her alone to tend to herself one evening, while i was out with a friend. This already sounds like my girl is incapable of autonomy, and quite frankly, that is categorically untrue. For many years, she managed her own life, finances, her wardrobe more successfully than most young ladies her age. The level of responsibility she demonstrated shames most folks 20 years her senior.
"You did what?!?"
Her posture drooped. Her face turned from me.
"Go get it out of the fridge." Fetching the leftovers of the pasty garbanzo dip, she handed the container to me. I could tell just by the bulge of the lid that the internal contents were rotten. An acrid hiss sprayed into the air as i lifted the lid, mirroring her diminishing confidence in her decision to soldier through with the slop the night before.
Rather than bore the reader with the seven bars of conversation wherein i demand in demonic perplexities why she would allow herself to eat spoiled food instead of lifting herself off of her keister and marching to the befouling store, i'll fast forward to the lesson learned.
The lesson, that is, that i learned.
She is my girl. My responsibility. Her safety, comfort, behavior, appearance are my responsibility. As mentioned earlier, this is not because she is incapable of handling these responsibilities, but because we have both found that we want this arrangement. I think of my girl as one of the most intelligent individuals i know, and for her to willingly grant me the gift of marshaling over her speaks not only of her trust in me, but her intellectual acuity. However, what i said, and more importantly, how i said it, made her feel stupid.
Instead of feeling corrected, informed, she felt incapable, inept and imbecilic. I did not practice any restraint on my tone or my irritation. I let it fall freely into the air and obtusely onto her chest. It is never my intention to make her feel stupid. That is errantly irresponsible, and not worthy of the very responsibility she delicately places into my hand, everyday, as we walk together to our respective day jobs.