I can't recall bringing a doll to work before.
But there was my daughter Emma's favorite doll, Patty Gigi (the name's a long story), peeking out of the briefcase Emma borrowed from my wife as we prepared to leave home about a week ago on Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.
As I wrote in this space two weeks ago, I was a little nervous about bringing my 7-year-old to the Deseret Morning News office. She wasn't too sure what a business editor does, and I was worried that she would be bored or think my job was silly.
After all, sometimes I do.
But rarely have I seen Emma as excited as she was as we headed downtown. Once we reached my office, she dropped her briefcase, looked out the window at my view of parking garages and the sides of buildings and spent the next half hour giving me a rundown of the activities of the pigeons on nearby rooftops.
She didn't seem interested in my early morning routine pigeon watching beats selecting business stories off the news wire, I guess. But eventually she calmed down enough to pay attention to a few of the things I was doing. Then I took her on a tour of the building.
Emma found everything fascinating. She loved meeting the different reporters, editors, photographers and artists and quickly distributed the 20 business cards my wife, Stacey, had made for her. (They describe Emma as a "future writer, teacher, artist, president and Mommy," which are her life ambitions, though not necessarily in that order.)
When I told her we had to go to a meeting with other editors at 11:15 a.m., she was thrilled. She stayed in the meeting for about a half-hour, at which point she politely asked, "Daddy, can I go back to your room now?"
Oh, how I wish I had that option!
Lunch was a highlight, as expected. I had arranged for us to meet my wife and other daughters downtown, because I thought Emma might want to call it quits after a half-day. But the first thing she said when she saw Stacey was, "Mom, you and Grace and Kate can stay for lunch, but then you have to leave and I'm staying with Daddy."
Emma then wolfed down her food and said goodbye while the rest of us were still eating.
In the afternoon, I gave Emma a basic rundown of how a newspaper works and had her complete a little pop quiz on the topic. She also worked on a journal about her day for her first-grade teacher, who had given her a special notebook for that purpose.
Later in the day, I asked if Emma wanted to attend the 4:30 p.m. editors' meeting for which I was preparing.
"Do I have to go to this one? Because I already went to one, and it was a really long one," she said.
Instead of attending the meeting, she ate a cupcake from the vending machine. I think her choice of activities proves she's already smarter than her father.
As I finished up my business section for the day, and Emma watched me editing stories and checking page proofs, she seemed to catch on to what I do.
When I asked her what her favorite part of the day was, she said, "I think it was a lot of things, like seeing how you worked."
And what surprised her most about my job? "Going into that room where you had to check (the business pages), because I've never heard of you doing that before," Emma said. "That's really cool."
Cool is definitely better than silly.
But Emma's best comments were yet to come. When I asked her if her day on the job had changed what she wanted to be when she grew up, she said, "All of the things I wanted to be on my cards, . . . and a business editor."
And as we left the building, she giggled and, with a spring in her step, said, "This was the best day ever!"
It was a great day for me, too. Because even if Emma doesn't grow up to be a writer or a teacher or an artist or president or a Mommy or a business editor I know she'll be great at whatever she does. She has a wonderful attitude about work and a sunny disposition that even a rainy day in downtown Salt Lake City couldn't dampen.
Trying to match that attitude will be my goal as I look forward to next year's Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.
E-mail: [email protected]