My daughter woke up at 5:45 this morning. Sirens from nearby fire engines and police cars woke her up. After checking in on her mother and finding her asleep and fairly nonresponsive, she came downstairs.
“Dad, I just can’t sleep.”
“I know,” I said. “But it’s okay. It’s morning. You’re allowed to be awake. It’s early, but it’s still morning.”
“But Mommy’s still asleep,” she said.
“I know,” I said. “It’s still really early.”
She paused for a moment beside a window, and then she turned to me. She had a smile on her face. “Listen, Daddy! The birds are awake! They went to sleep, and now they’re awake.”
“Yup,” I said. “The birds are awake, and I’m awake, and you’re awake.”
She looked out the window again, and then she turned toward me again, hazing hard. She furrowed her brow. She tilted her head slightly. She looked utterly puzzled. “Daddy,” she said. “How come you don’t have to sleep?”
Then it occurred to me:
Except for bouts with pneumonia and the stomach bug, my daughter has never, ever seen me asleep. For the first five years of my life, I have always been awake, out of bed, and fully dressed before she ever opened her eyes.
My daughter doesn’t think that I sleep.
She thinks that her Daddy is a superhero.
I fear that I have set the expectations on her future husband exceptionally high.