After a week alone with Dawit, one question is left unanswered

I think it is better that I have someone around to help me raise my kids.
I hear you judging me sitting there in your comfy chair reading the paper (or probably on the toilet reading this on your iPad). You’re thinking that any 12-year old girl can be trusted to babysit. Well, I’m no 12-year old girl. I’m a full grown man.
And for your information, when I was a 12-year old I was a pretty good babysitter too. I guess I grew out of it.
The wife and older son left for church camp Monday. That meant I had to assume actual responsibility for one of my children. I am a great “fun dad” or youth sports coach dad or even the disciplinarian dad.
But it is probably better that someone else is there to do most of the important jobs in rearing the children. I did remember Wednesday night that Dawit hadn’t bathed in a few days. But he had been swimming most days at day care and that is just like a bath in chemicals so that had to count for at least partial bathing credit.
Of course, when he was taking his bath, Dawit decided it would be fun to spin around and splash half the water out of the tub and onto the floor. My calm, emotionally stable and well-reasoned reaction to this near disaster is something that most people would applaud – well they might not applaud, but they would understand. I’m just proud that I didn’t use any words that I couldn’t use while teaching Sunday School.
After a week alone with Dawit, one question is left unanswered.
How long could we be left alone before I actually broke down and cooked a meal for us? The answer is apparently more than five days.
It wasn’t all Taco Bell and pizza places. I toasted up some frozen waffles or mini-pancakes every morning. Dawit even gave me the greatest compliment he knows how to give Thursday morning when he told me, “Dad, you’re a great chef, like SpongeBob.”
We didn’t even eat at a restaurant Thursday night. We got invited to a friend’s house. His wife and daughter were gone to the same camp so he made hamburgers, corn on the cob and baked beans for his sons and me and Dawit.
It was nice not to unwrap our meal.
After a week alone with Dawit I learned very well why Mike Brady hired Alice to live in the house with him and the three boys.
I think it is good for me to do this every now and then. Beyond learning where Dawit keeps his underwear and socks, I have a much better grasp and appreciation for the degree of difficulty the single parents who work for me deal with each and every day.
There is empathy and there is experience. Empathy helps you feel what someone feels. Experience helps you understand why they feel it.
Dawit has taught me a lot in three years. This week he taught me even more.
I will be glad to resume my role as fun dad and coach dad next week. Those are roles I can actually play with some believability.

Kent  Bush is the publisher of the Butler County Times Gazette and can be reached at: