chapter  9
Relations with Family
Pages 18

I wondered about my neighbor’s struggles with his masculinity one morning. It was about nine o’clock on a particularly cold October morning and I was walking past his house. There, curled up at the base of the front porch door was his three-year-old son in his pajamas without shoes or socks, pounding on the (locked) front door. He was screaming, “Daddy! Daddy!” When he saw me he cried “I want my Daddy.” I walked up to him and attempted to calm him. Then I knocked on the door until his father arrived fi ve minutes later. He had just stepped out of the shower, quickly sized-up the situation, and said, “I thought the house was too quiet. Tommy, don’t go outside like this again.” That was all. He turned to me and made some comment about kids being unpredictable and then changed the conversation to the work he was getting ready to do. I reacted with surprise at his response. Had this happened to my child, I hope that I would have sensed his distress, picked him up and held him tightly until we both stopped crying, reminded him that he was safe now, and asked him to tell me what that experience was like for him.