Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Comic Relief Just When It Is Needed

November 2010 - 37

“The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.”  Mark Twain.

With that, I want to introduce you to one of the most “powerful weapons” in the human race, my youngest daughter, Emmalie.

Typically, a biologically born child will have inherited characteristics of either parent.  But with Emmalie (and my oldest daughter Madison) being adopted, any traits that either daughter share with me, are purely coincidence.  Yes, there is what they have learned from me as they have grown.  Prior to the divorce we spent a lot of time together, doing homework, playing games, and my favorite, holding them in my arms when they were younger.  But their personalities were determined long before I had even met either one.

Through the adoption process, one of the things that I had to supply, was an autobiography about myself.  This would cover everything from my hobbies, employment, family history, and such.  Once all of the personal and legal information had been gathered and organized, the paperwork was then sent to the country of China’s Adoption Affairs office where the adoption process would continue through their end.

My dossier would go into a department those of us in the adoption world know as the “matching room.”   Where by some magic, dossiers are compared with profiles of at least ten children, most of them toddlers and babies.  At this point, a child is “matched” up with their parent.  The result is pure magic.

Both of my daughters share many of the characteristics and interests that I possess.  Only one characteristic either daughter have that I do not, but their adoptive mother does have, and that it artistic hands.

But Emmalie possesses one of the most important traits that I have, a sense of humor.  This child is notorious for causing an outburst of laughter at just the right moment.  She is a goofy and quirky little girl.  The smile that follows resembles the young child dinosaur in the 1980’s television show who regularly blurts out “gotta love me.”


I had taken the girls to see Shrek 3 (all three movies were great and entertaining).  At one point during movie #3, spoiler alert, Fiona’s father dies.  However, prior to his demise, he had been turned into a frog.  And of course the punch-line that followed… here it comes… “he croaked.”  Well of course, everyone the theater had sat in silence at the king’s passing, in spite of the symbolic comment.  Everyone except for Emmalie, who immediately burst out laughing at the joke itself.

But that is who Emmalie is.

It should come as no surprise that during one of the more difficult times in all our lives, that once again, she would provide her patented comic relief.  During one of our recent nightly conversations, her spontaneous humor knocked me off my “chair.”

Emmalie routinely asks me questions that have nothing to do with nothing, and though she claims there was no motivation behind her next question, I actually do believe her to a degree.  The divorce has been difficult for all of us, but my estranged wife and I are doing what we are able to keep the impact on the girls to as minimal as possible.  And though I believe Emmalie felt she was just throwing out one of her zinger questions as me, there is a part of me that knows in my heart, perhaps there was more to her question than she was letting on.

“Daddy.  I have a question.  Are you going to get married?”

Besides the legally obvious situation, that my divorce is yet to be final, marriage is the last thing on my mind, if ever again.  This was my second marriage to have failed, and clearly, the process has left me with no desire to ever share that commitment ever again.

But I am in a relationship again, and so is my estranged wife.  All four of us, seem happy in these new relationships.  So I could not help but wonder, if perhaps my youngest had overheard conversation from my ex and her boyfriend about getting married.  I know I have never brought up marriage.

“No… Emmalie, Daddy is not going to get married.  Why do you ask that?  Is mommy talking about me getting married or is she thinking about it”

“I was just wondering Daddy.  It seems like you are really happy.  And it would only make sense that if you were happy, then you would get married again.”

December 2009 - 35

If only it were that simple my precious little angel.  But as I thought about her question, I realized that there was more to it than just Emmalie seeing her daddy happy with someone else, or her mother happy with someone else.  Emmalie is more wise than what she realizes, and for those who receive the gift of her wisdom, we are truly blessed.

It has been so long since Emmalie or Madison have seen either of their parents smile.  And now our daughters are seeing bother their father and mother smiling again.  Emmalie has let me know that she is glad to see me smile again.  But the smiles do not have as much to do with what it happen currently, but rather what we were dealing with in recent years, and the effect it had on our girls.

I love you both so much Madison and Emmalie.





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2 thoughts on “Comic Relief Just When It Is Needed

  1. Makes me think you are going to live for a very long and wonderful time!
    Marcy Westerling

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