23 August 2011

The Tearing Of The Bagels

Friday morning is bagel time with my daughter.  The ritual began soon after she was big enough to toddle.  She was once enthusiastic, even demanding, when it was still fresh and new to her.  Lately, she likes to go, but she often seems noncommittal.

Me, I don't want to give it up yet.  The capstone to my week, and my girl she is growing swiftly.

One aspect that took root early on was that the plain bagel she always requested had to be rendered into smaller bits, to fit her wee mouth.  It was done out of necessity when she was much smaller.  At first I had to cut the bagel into pieces, she insisted, and they had to be wedge shaped.  She would use them as tiny shovels to scoop cream cheese out of the container and into her mouth.  Later, I convinced her that tearing the bagel into bite-sized pieces was better (have you ever tried to saw apart a chewy bagel with a bendy plastic knife? Tedious and tiresome), and much to my delight she agreed.  So for the longest time I would tear the bagel into bites, and she would eat.

As with many of these things we do for our children because they can't do for themselves, there comes a time when we grow tired of performing these tasks.  That time usually occurs about the time the kids can manage these things for themselves.  Seat belt fastening and bagel tearing, yeah, I've hit limit.

So it was last Friday at the bagel shop.  Bagels arrived at the table and as usual before I could sink teeth into my hot, crispy, fresh bagel, Her Royal Cuteness asked me to tear up the bagel.  I was annoyed, more so than the situation warranted.  But I complied as I always do.  I did wonder when she was going to start doing this for herself.

I watched her as she ate.  She seemed content, scooping cream cheese like a boss, and pushing the fragments of the now sundered bagel around the napkin on the table.  She didn't eat that much.  I polished off my bagel and wondered at this progeny of mine, and why it has to be my hands that tear the bagel.

It became clear to me, when she looked up at me with those stained glass eyes of hers and a small grin on her face.  This thing we have, the trip we take every Friday morning for the ritual "Tearing Of The Bagel"...maybe it matters to her.  Maybe it isn't so much that she doesn't want to do it herself.  Maybe she thinks this time we share together is incomplete if Daddy doesn't make the big things small.  Because that's what daddies do.  They help make the big things small for their precious ones, and that is as it should be.  I look on that angel face and believe it to be true.

I wish I could tell her, explain so that she may understand, that I may make the big things small for her...but by her presence sharing this ritual, I am a bigger man.


  1. Maybe because she thinks you want to tear her bagel. Maybe because she thinks you'll be hurt if she doesn't let you do it. Maybe because it hasn't yet crossed her mind that she can do it herself. Sometimes the words, "You know, it's okay if you try to do it yourself; but I'll help you if you need it," is all they need to hear.

  2. You're a smart daddy. And, this is lovely.

  3. Maybe she thinks you'd miss it too much if she showed you she could do it herself.

    But what do I know? I'm bawling cause my five year old finally grew out of her 3T clothes. *sniff

  4. I imagine there will come a time when she no longer wants you to tear the bagel. Savor this time. Just catching up here, man. It has been a while.

  5. Lovely post Gumbo, it made me smile.

    I remember thinking that my daddy could do ANYTHING when I was wee. Yeah, since then I've grown out of that thought, but I still think he's pretty darn amazing.

    I wonder if 20 years from now you'll still find yourself tearing bagels into bits....

  6. This post is perfect, Gumby. Wee Lass will remember Friday mornings her whole life because of this.

    Other half always has and always will scoop ice cream for his 20 yr old daughter.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...