My wife loves kids.
She loves our three kids.
She loves her 400 kids.
That second group is the number of children she has taught in the last 15 years as a first grade teacher.
This year she has a class of 26 students, but today only 25 showed up.
The absent child would have preferred to be at school, but she didn’t get that choice.
Over the weekend, she attended a birthday party, where there was cake and ice cream, and a slide.
Unfortunately, before the dessert was served, she fell off the slide and bumped her head.
Her parents took her to get checked out and they were told their child had a mild concussion.
A few hours later, the headache became a lot more serious when the little girl started throwing up.
As you would expect, her parents immediately took her to the emergency room where a cat scan showed severe swelling in her head.
Had the parents waited, the result could have been tragic, but thankfully, the prognosis is for a full recovery.
The doctors said that for the next few weeks, she must stay at home, do something effortless, like watch a lot of TV and most important, don’t use her brain.
Now that might be easy for you and me -- well, I KNOW it’s easy for me -- but for an active seven-year old girl, it will be a lot more challenging.
If all goes well, she will be back in my wife’s class in a short time, a very small price to pay for something that could have been a whole lot worse.
As a father, there is NOTHING more important than the safety of our kids and when I hear about an accident like this one, it makes you do exactly what that little girl is not supposed to do, THINK.
Like most children these days, our kids have a steady diet of birthday parties and play dates and the occasional sleepover, and we usually say yes without any hesitation.
For those times that we don’t give an immediate approval, we usually get that puppy dog face with the one word plea to make sure we say yes.
Every parent has heard it.
Every teacher has seen it.
When my wife shared this story with me tonight, I couldn't help but think how I would be feeling if I was that little girl's parent.
Ultimately, we want to do whatever we can to keep our kids out of harm's way, but unfortunately that's not always possible.
Being a full-time stay-at-home dad for the last year and change has taken the relationship with my kids to a level that I didn't know existed.
Everyday I have the honor of taking them to school, making their meals, helping them with homework and most of all, just being their dad.
I know someday I will be going back to work, but thankfully, I have had the opportunity to renumber my priorities and place my family where they belong, at the top of the list.
And that's a great lesson to learn.