Hey, kids: Just in case it slipped your mind, I’m Emmalee’s Dad

Sunday afternoon. Emmalee has staked out a claim on the kitchen floor — the only place that could be considered as open space in our house right now — to do an art project, she announces.

“I need glitter,” she says, making it clear no mere crayon or colored pencil will suffice.

I’m sitting at the kitchen table. I get up, grab some newspapers (yes, I still read those antiquated information carriers) out of a stack in the next room, and spread a few pages on the floor. Of course, I’m thinking to myself that a little glitter would probably improve the appearance of the kitchen floor, but that’ll require elaboration at another time.

She dumps a small bag on the floor. Then, the frustration begins. First one tube of glitter glue, then another, and another.

Dried up. Dead. Empty. Hopeless.

Emmalee starts making that combination of frustration and impatience noise she’s perfected, even at age 6.

Fortunately, Mom swoops in to the rescue. The two of them begin poking straightened paper clips into the tiny clogged nozzles. They clip off ones that show promise but won’t respond to the paper clip.

At first, Emmalee doesn’t grasp the idea that glitter glue does not last forever, even when confronted with visual proof.

Mom and Em get the glitter glue flowing (or at least dribbling). Em says she needs two pieces of white paper.

On one, she spells out Mom in glitter and traces around it in bright yellow highlighter.

This is probably a good time to say a few words about Emmalee’s kindergarten class. The kids call her Emma — that was Emmalee’s decision at the start of the school year. Most of the kids are familiar with me. I’ve been a mystery reader, delivered clothes on a cold day, and visited a few other times. Guess that’s one of the advantages of not having a regular job to go to.

The previous Friday — two days earlier — I was the audience for kindergarten’s outdoor Field Day at Em’s school. The kids call me “Emma’s Dad,” which is fine.

Back to Sunday afternoon.

Emmalee starts on the second sheet of paper, this time writing Dad in sparkle glue and applying the same highlighter.

“What are these for?” her mother asks.

Emmalee pauses.

“Well, you won’t need yours for a long time — until somebody thinks you’re my grandmother.”

I’m listening. What’s not spoken becomes clear.

The next time I go to her school, I need to wear identification in addition to the standard visitor badge.

Hey, the way I look at it? It’s great having your 6-year-old stand up for you, protecting your feelings in a thoughtful yet effective manner.

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