“Daddy!” my two-year-old daughter yelled from her bed last Friday morning after she woke up.
I hadn’t gotten to see her the day before, so I was looking forward to spending time with her before heading to work. I went into her room and picked her up, expecting her to squirm around and ask for her favorite stuffed animal. Instead, she wrapped her arms around my neck and put her head on my shoulder.
“Are you feeling okay?” I asked. She had been a little sick the day before, but she didn’t seem to have a fever anymore.
She didn’t respond. She just held on.
When she didn’t let go, I walked down the hallway to my bedroom, carrying her with me. I figured that once she saw her mom, she would wiggle out of my arms and go running for my wife. She didn’t. She held on, not saying a word.
“She really missed you yesterday,” said my wife.
“Apparently so,” I said.
Any good dad lives for moments like these, but frankly, I was having trouble fully enjoying it. I was distracted by the nagging thought that she was going to try to climb down at any moment.
But she held on.
My arms and back started aching, so I lowered myself onto my bed and laid down flat, figuring she would try to pull away and jump on the bed. Instead, she rested her head against my chest silently.
And that’s when I relaxed. This was our moment – all I needed to do was hold onto her as tightly as she was holding onto me.
When my daughter finally let go, I had 12 minutes to get ready for work. I took a speed shower, threw on some clothes, and jammed an egg sandwich into my mouth as I drove away.
There’s no doubt I needed more time to get ready that morning, but my daughter and I don’t get these moments every day. Ending the moment prematurely would have been like closing the blinds in the middle of a beautiful sunset.
I wonder how many moments like that I’ve missed with my wife simply because I wasn’t willing to hold on, because I was too uncomfortable with silence, because I had something more important to do.
It probably happens more often than I would like to admit.
In fact, as I write this post, I can hear a romantic drama on the TV downstairs – my wife wanted me to watch it with her this evening, but I declined. I had something better to do, like write this post.
I chose poorly.
But the movie’s not over, so rather than worry about writing the perfect closing paragraph, I believe I’ll go down and hold onto my wife while she watches that movie. We don’t get these moments every day.