Painted hair, motivation, and losing something

Paige's daycare had a little playhouse thing outside under some huge trees. It's been very colourful the entire time she's been there. It did, however, need a new coat of paint and today, Paige and a couple of the other kids helped out with putting a white base layer on.

I suspect the rest of the kids will help make the house beautiful in the coming days.

Paige got some of that paint in her hair. I didn't realize it until later that evening because observation isn't always my strong suit and by then it was too late to call and learn what type of paint it was.

To the internets I went and learned that of the three types of paint it likely was, two of them would be softened and broken down a bit with oil. All recommendations also included using lots of water and shampoo afterwards and a fine comb to scrape out the bits of paint.

So I did.

It mostly worked. I was able to comb and pluck out most of the paint, though we'll see tomorrow how much is left in there. All in all, it was kinda of unpleasant, but it worked out okay.

That's the anecdote and the journal entry for the day.

Some thoughts came out of it though.

Gratuitous self analysis follows. You have been warned.


This was the first challenge that I encountered that I couldn't really see how Hillary and I would have handled it as a team. It's been too long now since we were parenting equals. I mean, it's been two years since I had a fully powered Hillary at my side.

Even as our roles shifted though, I can't visualize having done this with someone else. More accurately, I can visualize it, but it feels like a daydream. It is not a hard certainty to how it would have gone.


Losing that certainty about how we would have handled something together is shockingly painful. It's been happening slowly, but this time I was consciously aware of it. I'm changing and growing in experience. As I get farther away from my wife and best friend, it's hard to extrapolate how she would have changed and grown in the intervening time.


I did get it done. I dried Paige's hair and got the kids to bed shortly thereafter. Then I stood there for a few minutes. As part of our team, there would have been a moment of quiet victory for a job well done. That is gone now though.

I appreciate the positive things people say to me. It does help me validate that I'm making the right calls. But nothing anyone says has anywhere near the weight it would have had coming from Hillary.

It's one thing to relate a story and hear the laughter, sympathy, and positive words. It's another thing entirely to get that assessment from someone who was there through the entire ordeal. Someone who had just as much invested in the outcome and the people involved.

Another way, a very close friend could say the exact same words that Hillary said in the exact same situation and it would have a dramatically different impact on how I perceived the compliment.

This is a problem. I don't have that motivator anymore. I need it to be enough for me alone to see these things and recognize when they are wins.