Glancing at the clock, I made it back home with a minute to spare for a birthday party next door. Clutching a wrapped gift, I hurried through the door, gathering Kay and Cee and a rather bulky diaper bag. Walking across the road, we rang the bell to see the door open even as my finger left the door bell. Welcome! said the soft-spoken dad of the birthday girl.
Handing over the gift, K and I shepherded the girls through to the deck in anticipation of their first beach themed birthday party. Having not invested in a bikini for the girls yet, they wore thin cotton dresses in the hope that would not prevent them from having fun. I never felt more self conscious the entire time. I berated myself for not having bought one. I looked around at all the other kids sporting cute bathing suits and felt a deep sense of shame. How could I do this to my daughters I vented within myself.
An hour later, sunscreen slathered on, Kay and Cee literally tested the waters with their toes. Cee took off running around the sprinklers, touching the dancing fountains with her nose and appearing startled when the cool water sprayed all over her. Kay circled from the outside hesitant. She reminded me so much of me. I felt with her as she aspired for greater things willing herself to summon up courage.
The next couple of hours sped past, I had eyes only for my daughters watching them as they eased their way into the crowd, slipped easily into the throng of children in the small pool. mimicked the other children as they slid and dived into the kiddie pool. I stood by the sidelines pride spilling over from my face. Arms akimbo, I watched eagle-eyed as they fell head first into the water.
As we bid adieu and walked back holding bulky return gifts, I realized how besotted I was with Kay and Cee. I felt mortified as I realized I hardly noticed anything else around me. I half wondered if I should stop by to apologize. Apologize to whom I wondered. I wondered if anyone noticed or if each parent stood there like me eyes glued to their children beaming with pride. I will never know.