To be the father of growing daughters is to understand something of what Yeats evokes with his imperishable phrase 'terrible beauty.' Nothing can make one so happily exhilarated or so frightened: it's a solid lesson in the limitations of self to realize that your heart is running around inside someone else's body. It also makes me quite astonishingly calm at the thought of death: I know whom I would die to protect and I also understand that nobody but a lugubrious serf can possibly wish for a father who never goes away.
He welcomes the chance to do fatherly things with the little girl, and those ten morning minutes with dear little four-year-old Ruby, with her deep soulful eyes, and the wondrous things she sees with them, and her deep soulful voice, and the precious though not entirely memorable things she says with it, and the smell of baby shampoo and breakfast cereal filling the car, that little shimmering capsule of time is like listening to cello music in the morning, or watching birds in a flutter of industry building a nest, it simply reminds you that even if God is dead, or never existed in the first place, there is, nevertheless, something tender at the center of creation, some meaning, some purpose and poetry.
Fatherhood to us was an act of passion, soon forgot; but not to Orem ap Avonap. Never guessing that the blond and happy farmer was no blood of his, Orem had taken a part of that simple man into himself and saved it for this time. At any time in the Palace he might run by, Youth on this shoulders or, as time went by, toddling along behind.
Many women to whom I have preached the doctrine of freedom have weakly replied, 'But who is to support the children?' It seems to me that if the marriage ceremony is needed as a protection to insure the enforced support of children, then you are marrying a man who, you suspect, would under certain conditions, refuse to support his children, and it is a pretty low-down proposition. For you are marrying a man whom you already suspect of being a villain. But I have not so poor an opinion of men that I believe the greater percentage of them to be such low specimens of humanity.
When kids made a decision for themselves they have a vested interest in showing they were right. Lee wanted to prove to me that he had made the right choice so he worked hard and did well. If we'd forced him to go to college somewhere else all the incentives would've been different. Then he would have had a motive to prove that we were wrong.
That evening he plays with the children, cleans the hamster's cage with them, gets them into their pyjamas, and reads to them three times over, once together, then to Jake on his own, then to Naomi. It is at times like these that his life makes sense. How soothing it is, the scent of clean bedlinen and minty toothpaste breath, and his children's eagerness to hear the adventures of imaginary beings, and how touching, to watch the children's eyes grow heavy as they struggle to hang on to the priceless last minutes of their day, and finally fail.