My daughter Tori Lou was about seven years old. Her mom and I had separated a few months earlier and Tori Lou was with me for the weekend. We had spent some time Saturday morning in the swimming pool at the apartment complex where I was living at the time.
Walking from the pool back to my apartment, Tori Lou stepped on something that left a splinter in her foot. Limping along and sobbing, she would not let me try to extract the splinter. She was at the age where panic set in and triggered an “I want mommy” plea.
I tried several times to convince her to let me remove the splinter, but she stubbornly refused. I said, “OK, let’s get you in the van. We’ll stop and call to see if your mom is home.” As we drove down the street, I told her I would make a quick stop at the drug store to call (we did not have a cell phone yet.) Minutes later I turned into the nearest Walgreens. Inside, I bought a big beach ball and a pair of tweezers.
I opened the door on the side of the van where Tori Lou was sitting. “Look Lou,” I announced, “I got you something.” She instinctively took the beach ball. It was large enough to temporarily block her vision of everything. In a lightning fast move, I gently but firmly grabbed her foot and simultaneously, with surgical precision, removed the splinter in one quick flick of the tweezers.
She peeked around the beach ball at me, sniffled a smile, and said softly, “Thanks, Dad.” We had fun for the rest of the weekend… including tossing the beach ball around – with shoes on.