A Daddy’s Broken Heart

Apparently, some time yesterday #4 of 5 (my 12 year old daughter) was playing with my iPod.  This is not unusual, and is something I generally allow my children to do.

Later in the afternoon, I had run some errands.  I arrived home just in time for the evening chaos to begin.  It was time for the boys to attend their Boy Scout Meeting and #4 of 5 to head off to her softball game.  The Mother of Five and #4 of 5 had only a brief moment where we crossed paths before they headed out and I headed in to prepare for the Boy Scout meeting.  Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

I gathered up my scouting materials, and went looking for my iPod.  (I utilize a specialized calendar application on my iPod to keep track of my schedule, and other various family functions.  My iPod has replaced my Palm Pilot.)    It was odd that my iPod was not where I left it, but remember, it’s not unusual for the kids to play with it from time to time – so after a short search I located the iPod and headed out for the scout meeting never giving it a second thought. 

ipod-disabled It was during the meeting that I needed to do some scheduling when I awoke my iPod and was faced with something I have never seen on my iPod before. 

Somehow a password was entered.  I tried a couple of attempts at figuring it out and was quickly faced with the bad news.

Immediately I suspected that I was the victim of a practical joke and had a couple of specific “suspects” in mind (#2 and #3 of 5)

After the meeting, I interrogated, questioned, asked the first of my two suspects who said he did not know anything about it, but had seen #4 of 5 playing with my iPod earlier that day. 

Now I started to get a little worried.  If this was done accidentally – what would that mean?  Was my iPod (and all it’s important information locked within) be dead to me?  I waited until I knew the softball game was over and that the Mother of Five and #4 of 5 would be on their way home when I called them.  I told The Mother of Five what had happened and she told me that someone would like to speak to me and handed the phone over to #4 of 5

I heard the tale of how (while playing with the iPod) she somehow managed to set a password (she didn’t know how she did it, or what the password was). 

I gently (no exaggeration) told her that by doing so, she may have made my iPod unusable, and that I would talk to her about it when she got home.

After disconnecting from them, I did some quick internet searches and made a telephone call to Apple support.  I was on hold with Apple when The Mother of Five and #4 of 5 arrived home.

A few minutes later, #4 of 5 very slowly made her way downstairs to where I was.  In what could only be described as a little tiny mouse-like voice she managed to squeak out an “I’m sorry daddy” before she completely broke down, grabbed on to me, and began sobbing.

Her crying was breaking my heart!

I hugged her back, and told her that I was trying to fix the iPod.  I told her I thought it was repairable, and for the time being not to worry about it.  Through her tears we talked about NEVER being afraid to tell her daddy ANYTHING.  No matter how big and bad it seemed.  I reminded her that she is more important to me than any iPod, or any “thing” for that matter.  While she continued crying, I could sense that her tears of fear and trepidation somehow changed into tears of relief.

We talked a little more, and I calmed her down to the point that she was whimpering more than crying.  I told her (since she just came home from softball) to take a nice cool bath or shower to clean up and calm herself down. 

She went upstairs, and the Mother of Five came downstairs.  That’s where I heard the rest of the story. 

While playing with the iPod earlier in the day she somehow managed to install a password that she did not know or remember.  She tried numerous times to unlock the iPod, but after a number of failed attempts, the iPod disabled itself.

She was so worried about having ruined the iPod and angering me that she had hidden in her bedroom for a couple of hours (crying) before having to leave for softball.  Then, when I did not get home in time to talk to me about it, she left for softball still in anguish over the iPod.  She broke down crying at least three more times during the game because of the iPod and then again after I talked to her on the phone. 

My little girl had spent the better part of the day, in her room, crying, scared that she ruined my iPod, too terrified about I was going to react to come to me and ask for help.  She was devastated. 

When I heard about this, my already broken heart was decimated. 

While she was upstairs bathing, the Apple customer service walked me through resetting my iPod.  By the time #4 of 5 was done cleaning up and came back downstairs I was able to show her the progress that had been made.  The iPod was restored to “factory settings” and I was in the process of restoring my original settings from a backup I had made just two days previous.

In other words, everything was going to be ok. 

I cannot begin to imagine how devastating it would have been had I lost my temper, or yelled or screamed at my daughter while she was so vulnerable.  I truly thank God that (at least for this instance) he gave me the patience to remain calm, and the opportunity to show my daughter that things WILL be ok if she comes to me (or her mother) with honesty and openness – no matter how bad she thinks things are.  I was given the chance not just to say, but to actually PROVE to her that NOTHING in this world is more important to me than she is / my children are.  

When it was all said and done, I got another great big hug from my daughter.  This time, instead of fear, trepidation, and tears, it was filled with happiness, trust, and smiles. 

We both went to bed relieved and happy.  I could not ask for anything better! 


  1. My brother from another mother...it's times like this that you find out how your kids really view you. Yes, there's the fun-loving daddy whose lap they always know they are welcome on, but there is also the "other side" of daddy, that though they thankfully rarely see, when they do, it makes quite the impression.
    Like you, I hate that they have seen that part of me, but such is life. None of us are perfect and if we didn't scar our kids just a little bit, likely we wouldn't be doing our job.
    You handled this well. Proud of ya big guy!

    1. Thank you PostulatesandPasttimes! I have been known to loose my cool from time to time - but usually not when they are "vulnerable" as #4 was on this day.

      I can only imagine the impression I would have left if this post (my reaction) had turned out a different way.

      It's spending time learning more about myself through you and other dad bloggers (and a handful of mom bloggers too) that I have learned so much from, that have inspired me to be a better father!

      Thanks for the complement!

  2. Glad you were able to remain calm. Now when she is older & dents or scratches the car while driving, she will feel comfortable to come to you & let you know!
    For Christmas my Hubby did the shopping for all gadgets my Aunt needed for her boys. Her 12 yr old got an iPod touch. My Hubby got it all charged, put all the settings on it that were needed & it was good to go Christmas morning. Well, by New Years Day we got a call... he had let one of his friends convince him he needed a password on it since he has 3 younger brothers. The password was all 2's... he just didn't know how many & locked it as yours was. Lucky for him my Hubby was able to get it all fixed. Granted, he had nothing of importance as a calendar... come on now, he's 12! LOL.

    1. Woah, hold on a minute there Mimzy Wimzy... I never said anything about THE CAR!! (bwa-ha-ha-ha!)

      I did get a little "freaked out" (at least in my own head) but thankfully I was able to bottle that up and keep it under wraps until the "carbonation" settled down a bit!

      Thanks for the iPod story - Shows that I am not alone! Dang 12 year olds!!

  3. What a valuable lesson to remember that people are more important than things.
    After my first child was born, my husband's cousin Carol came over to help me. She took off her wedding ring to do dishes. Somehow, I don't remember how, I managed to lose it. We never did find it. I felt terrible. She was wonderful and kept telling me, "People are more important than things."

  4. Once I changed my brothers phone to the Spanish settings and he could not navigate anywhere on his phone. Of course I did do it on purpose and did not cry when I confessed.

    That was a great post. Your daughters heart was much more important than some hunk of metal made in china. Good job Dad.

  5. Awesome post man!!! Too many times am I guilty of this, only to regret my actions later after I've had time to calm down. In the heat of the moment, I fail to realize that my actions are counteracting my words and requests for my children to be open and honest. Kuddos to you for having restraint in time of adversary. Next time my boys do something that would typically piss me off, I'll be sure to think of this post. Thanks


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