Slice of Life Story Challenge, Day 24 #sol19

Gripping the steering wheel, I hung my head.  Heartrending sobs from the back of the car filled my senses, as I watched my wife and seven year-old daughter drive away in the other car.  “I want Mama! I want Mama!” came the sobs.  Turning around, I noticed my three year-old’s face had now taken on a reddish hue, glistening with wetness.  She looked back at me through angry tears. “I want Mama!” she repeated.

“Maybe you could take her for ice cream?” my wife had suggested just before pulling away to take my seven year-old on a special outing to a movie. My oldest had gone to a sleepover with a friend.  So I now sat in the driver’s seat, facing down three hours of alone time with this precious three year-old.

I tried reasoning, turning the tides.  “Hey sweetheart, we are going to have special ‘Papa time!’  Want to go for ice cream?”

“No! I want Mama!” 

So much for that idea.

Putting the car in drive, I slowly pulled into the road and swung out of the rendezvous parking lot.  My mind raced, and as we drove, a voice tried to explain things to me: Remember, said the voice, you don’t spend a whole lot of alone time with her.  It’s usually family time.  She’s upset now, but she’ll be alright.  More sobs emanated from the back.  I wondered if we would be alright.  And I was struck by the fact that even though I’m the father of three, I still feel these moments of intense angst.  “Come on,” I thought silently to myself, “Get a grip. Of course we’ll be alright… won’t we?”

We drove on.  I tried again, “Hey honey, how about we go to dinner?” 


“You want some fries?”  

Suddenly the sobbing ceased. A beat.  “And chicken!”  A pause.  “And ice cream!”  came the sweet voice from the carseat.

“Okay,” I answered.  “That sounds great, honey. Let’s do that.”  

We’d be alright.  And we were.

Author: Lanny Ball

For more than 29 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy specialist, working and living in the great state of Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a former co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting writing teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops,

12 thoughts on “Slice of Life Story Challenge, Day 24 #sol19”

  1. At the beginning I thought that they were two daughters crying for mama, and I was wondering what did you do to deserve it! Precious moments with precious little humans. Enjoy them as much as you can. In a blink, they are gone. By the way, now you know that “fries” first is the magic word, then ice-cream.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Who doesn’t love fries? That’s what I ate on Friday to calm my tears in free a long week! Hehe! And I’m sure that dinner started off a wonderful and special daughter daddy time! Fun slice.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You will continue to have angst. And more angst and more angst and more. Because it doesn’t really get easier. It just gets different. Your writing always weaves in and out of moments, presence, and reflection. It’s really powerful that way. We’re there, and then we’re thinking with you, just as you are.

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  4. Of course you were okay; you knew it all along, but parenting is a tough gig. you hit the sweet spot with the fries and other favorite foods. I’m sure she had a great time with dad. Read Clare’s post today–memories with dad. Your 3-year-old may not remember this particular incident, but there will be many more.

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  5. Ugh…my heart was feeling your angst. Logic and reason doesn’t work with 3-year olds and riding that wave of emotion and reaction with them can make us ‘seasick’ sometimes. Love your self-talk and patience, and oh yeah, the comfort food suggestions. You got this, Dad.

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  6. I hear you loud and clear on this one. We also have three kids with 5.5 years between Numbers 2 and 3. So even though Number 3 and I spend some quality time alone, he still pines for his mama when separated from her. Just yesterday we had two cars and were going to meet at home just five minutes away, Number 3 was similarly crying in the back of the car because he wasn’t in my wife’s car. A couple of minutes in, he was fine.
    I’m glad you and your third figured it all out. But UGH that moment (for both of us).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. At first I was worried about the sobs, but as I read more and realized the cause- I could relate! I love the moment where we know everything will be ok. Thanks for a glimpse at your thoughts in this moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This sums up those small moments with little ones so beautifully. If only we could get insure their heads to know what makes them tick…& things like chicken that’ll make them come back around.

    Liked by 1 person

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