I’m at a loss trying to figure out when to invade your privacy and when to leave you alone, beautiful girl. You’re eight–balanced right between closing the bathroom door in my face and streaking butt-naked through the house just for a laugh. You complain about being lonely, yet bury your face in Minecraft videos on YouTube and go monosyllabic for hours. When I ask you how your day at school went, you’re already quoting your daddy and me with the non-answer that kills all discussion: “Fine.”

God, how I hate that word.

Are you shutting the door in my face because you genuinely don’t want me to sit by the tub during bath time, like we used to–or do you just like to shower? (I wouldn’t blame you either way, beautiful. I valued every bit of autonomy I could get at your age, and I still consider showering a religious experience.) Is tv really that much more interesting than listening to adults talk? And was your day actually “fine”?

Or have I just done a lousy job of making you feel that I value time with you?