The Value Of Being Heard

“What’s doobie?”

She’s five – I thought. I also thought things like: She must have seen cable at Uncle Brian’s house. Now we’ll have to move. I never liked Uncle Brian much anyway. I thought things like that. Normal, rational things. Then I took a deep breath and feigned calm.

“A doobie is like a cigarette. People smoke it. Okay?” I pulled out my chair and she pulled out hers.

“If you smoke cigarettes you die,” she stated with the confidence of a Surgeon General.

“Yeah… pretty much. I guess that’s true, sweetie. Smoking can make you sick and some people even die.”

“Mommy says you die.”

“Yeah… So do you understand what a doobie is now?” I spilled a box of crayons onto the kitchen table and handed her a stack of construction paper, hoping the interrogation was over and we could draw together instead, or at least have lighter father-daughter conversation about, I don’t know, colors of finger nail polish she’s into this week or how to make a fart sound with your armpit. Anything.

“Can you take me to see them make doobie?”

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