We’d finished reading The Velveteen Rabbit again, and were curled up in Cameron’s bed together, snuggling to end the day.
Mama, there were lotsa kids not wearing their shoes in the playroom on the ferry today.
Yeah, there were lots of barefoot kids.
And some kids ran down the slide, not on their bums.
I did it once.
Aaaand you got a time out for it, didn’t you? I’d already asked you twice to stay on your bum on the slide.
Yeah. And there was that girl who kept climbing up the slide when others wanted to slide down.
Mmm-hmmmm. I let him get to the question himself.
How come those kids could do those things but Grace and I couldn’t?
I’m not their Mommy, Cameron. It’s my job to teach you how to stay safe, and also how to think of other people. There were lots of little kids around. Running down the slide and doing big jumps off could’ve hurt one of them. You didn’t look like you liked it when you had to wait while someone went up the slide instead of up the stairs, right? Those other kids, their mommies either weren’t right there watching, or weren’t thinking of the little ones who might get hurt, or of the kids waiting in line for the slide.
He thought about this for a little bit, and I thought he might be falling asleep. But no – after a while, he said,
When I grow up I’m going to teach my kids the rules so they’ll be good kids. I’ll be a good daddy.
Ooh, I like to hear that, Cameron. I’m sure you’ll be a very good daddy. What other sorts of good-daddy things will you do?
I dunno. Play with my kids. And give them good food to eat, and take them on adventures, and read them stories at bedtime.
Who are the good daddies you know, Cameron?
He didn’t have to think very long. This part we’ve talked about before.
Leif. And Paul. And Rob.
Mmmmm. So you’ll be a good daddy like they are?
Nope, no, not like them.
I’m gonna be an even better daddy than them.
A long pause.
But first I’m gonna be an astronaut. Then I’ll be a daddy.