Last night I got teary sitting on the floor in Ella’s room, leaning against her crib. It wasn’t from the book she accidentally hit me in the face with or from that damn eye lash that curls in towards my eye. It wasn’t even me lamenting that I can no longer deny that my baby is now a toddler. It was a father-daughter moment I wish I had been fast enough to capture.
As we go through our day, we often get sucked into the routine that we’ve established during the week. I pick up Ella from daycare. We go home, nurse, play for a little while, I make dinner. Then Josh comes home, we eat together, one of us cleans up and the other gives Ella a bath. Then it’s time for the bedtime routine to start. We run like a well-oiled machine.
Last night we slowed down. Josh was home early enough that we were done with dinner by 5 :30. I gave Ella her bath and Josh joined us in her room after she yelled to him from the top of the stairs. We all sat on the floor together reading about two pages of each of the handful of books Ella brought to us. For a moment we forgot about the ‘had-tos’ and focused on the ‘want-tos’.
When it was time for Ella’s nightly nursing and bedtime routine to begin, Josh crouched down to say goodnight to her. On a typical night we’d usually be downstairs in the family room then go upstairs for some pre-bedtime nursing. Every night before we head to her room I take Ella to Josh to give him a kiss goodnight. She smiles as I lean her down towards Josh but turns her face and as he kisses her cheek he says “Goodnight, I love you.” Same routine every night. You see, Ella never kisses back. She’ll gladly accept the hundreds of kisses we lay on her daily, but I think I can count the times she’s kissed us on one hand.
Last night was different. Instead of taking her to Josh and having her turn her cheek as he kissed her goodnight, Ella walked over to Josh, lips puckered and gave him a kiss. It was the sweetest thing I think I’ve ever seen. I’m not kidding that it brought a tear to my eyes. Almost as unexpectedly, she did it again, then to me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a big smile on Josh’s face.
As I rocked her I smiled. The most simple act was the sweetest moment. It made my day. I wish I could bottle up the warmth and love in her room at that moment.