Just Breathe

He sat by his daughter’s bed, holding her hand. He’d sat beside her bed and rocked her to sleep many times before, but this time was different. She’d been sick most of the night, and no amount of rocking seemed to comfort her.

“Daddy, I don’t feel good.” Her small and weak voice reached him through the darkness, and tugged at his heart.

“I know baby, but it will pass.” He squeezed her hand and she rolled over onto her side, facing him. He ran his hands through her dampened hair, where a cold washcloth had once been. It was hard to imagine this was the same little person he’d gone on a field trip with her school earlier that week. One minute she was fine, and the next minute she came down with the flu. Having four daughters, he had a lot of experience with sleepless nights. But no matter how much experience he had, he still worried each time.

“Daddy, my tummy hurts.” She curled up into a ball, hoping it would ease her pain.

“Just breathe,” he told her and began rubbing her back. “Just like this.” And he began to take in small shallow breathes and released them at a fast pace.

She opened her eyes and watched him. She lied on her back and inhaled deeply, and released it in small bursts.

“That’s a good girl.”

She released the grip on her father’s hand and concentrated harder on her breathing.

“How do you feel?” he asked after a few minutes passed. He placed his hand onto her small stomach. “Better?”

“A little bit,” she answered, turning onto her side to face him.

He began to hum as he rubbed her back. And when her breathing began to soften, he knew she’d finally fallen asleep. He kissed her good night, knowing if he had to do all over again tomorrow, he would. Because even though her mother would have made her feel better too, he wanted to be the one that took away his daughters pain this time around.

11 thoughts on “Just Breathe

  1. There are moments in your life that you know you will never forget, like your first crush on a boy or girl, and your first kiss. Or your first fight with a best friend or school bully; but what about the events that don’t seem significant at the time, because they are so mundane or extra ordinary that they don’t stick out on a daily basis, like a mother fixing Do those memories fade away, never to be called upon? Or do they get filed away for a rainy day, when your mind knows that you’ll need them the most? I’d like to believe the later, that the memories that you don’t think about on a daily basis come to you when your mind knows you need them to get through whatever it is you’re experiencing at the time.
    Last night, as I lied awake in bed, in so much pain it was hard to lie still, all I kept thinking was how if my mother was there, she would know what to do to make me feel better. But as the pain began to subside and the nausea began to start, a memory came to me from a time when I was sick, and it was my father who took care of me. It was that memory, along with prayer, that got me through the night and inspired this story. And I thought it was rather fitting being so close to father’s day. 

  2. My personal dislike is why is it called “special” when a guy takes care of his child but when a woman does it it is “normal?” And when she is not there it’s odd to the child but when the father isn’t there it is “normal?”

    1. I agree with you, but if you look at the statistics, there are more children being raised in single parent households by mothers than fathers. And not just mothers but women in general, for example their are children being raised by their grandmothers or even aunts. I think its more socially acceptable for a father to leave his offspring than a mother which is why its not seen as being normal when the mother is absent, because there is thought to be a special bond between a mother and her offspring formed while the mother is carrying the child. It sucks, but I am very thankful and realized how blessed my sisters and I are because we were raised in a two parent househould. And my father wasn’t just there when we were sick, he was there for school field trips, award nights, school dances, and sporting events. I wanted to do something special for those fathers who are in the trenches everyday with their children, and who are often forgotten about or overlooked.

      1. That’s the beauty of being an entrepreneur: You take your time back and get to spend it how you want. And I always wanted to be more of an influence in my child’s life than the mother.

      2. Shouldn’t it be equal influence? It should be a partnership between you and your wife. I don’t think either of my parents have more influence on me than the other.

    1. Thanks 🙂 And raising kids on your own, is not an easy task. I don’t know how my parents managed with the four of us, lol.

  3. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an incredibly long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyhow, just wanted to say great blog!

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