You’re standing, holding onto the couch. I am seated on the floor about four feet from where you stand. I hold out my hands and beckon you with my fingers. “Come to Daddy.” I tell you.
You look at me, uncertain and a little frightened. But you also trust me so you align yourself up to face me. You look directly into my eyes as I raise my eyebrows and open my eyes wide as if to encourage you even more.
You take a breath and, suddenly, you are off. You throw out your arms as if you’re coming to give me a great big hug. Your eyes get wider and your smile breaks out into a laugh. Your little legs take stiff little steps that get more and more hurried with each step you take. By the third step you are almost running and your laugh has a hiccup-like quality that is both infectious and tinged with pure joy. As you near me you dive at me and I scoop you up into my arms and I smother you with kisses. You are so proud of yourself and you continue to laugh.
“Good job, Bri!” I tell you. You snuggle against me as you catch your breath. Within moments you are ready to try again and we begin the process once more.
It is moments like these that I sit on the fence of pride and sorrow. It is inevitable, my little girl, that you will grow up. One day, running into your daddy’s arms won’t have the same appeal as it does today and for that I am sad. But, at the same time, it is so wonderful to see you grow and learn and know that I get to play a part in everything you do.
You see, my Swee’Pea, your Daddy adores you. Your smile warms my heart and your laughter is a special sound that always conjures up such joy. I sometimes sit back and watch you from afar and I see you thinking and learning and taking leaps into the unknown and it makes me so proud that you are figuring these things out. Now and then you’ll involve me in your learning – which is so special to me. For example, you hold my finger with your little hand as you walk around the room. You are not quite ready for me to let go and I’m not quite ready for you to let go so we walk around the playroom exploring together – a little girl and her father sharing a moment the father will never forget.
Your tight grip on my finger is symbolic of what our relationship is and will always be. I will be there for you when you need me my precious one. I’ll offer the support you need to reach out and stretch. I’ll be there to encourage you to take the step into the unknown. And someday you won’t need to hold on so tight. One day you’ll take those steps without a thought of Daddy and you’ll head out and explore on your own.
But I will still be there.
I will watch from afar, ready to be there, ready to catch you but knowing that you will be fine. It’s what Daddies do for their little girls and I just want you to know that you’ll always be my little girl.
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