Always and Forever (Stability, Bond)

This morning, we were about to head out for her school. Atypically, she was in the lead as I had yet to get my shoes on. While tying my laces, she stood there, lunchbox slung across her shoulder, staring at me.

Just as I finished the first shoe, she spoke…

Her – “Dada, you’ve been the best daddy my whole life.”

My eyes immediately moistened as she stepped up and embraced me.

I knew what she was saying beyond her sweet words – that I’ve always been there for her and always made her my priority.

Me – “Thank you, honey. That means a lot to me. Nothing is more important to me than you.”

She came around the back of the chair and hugged me as I tied my other shoe. As I stood up, I assured her that nothing will change that.

Me – “And the best is yet to come… adventures, traveling, new experiences…”

She smiled, and off we went.

Focusing On the Good (Empowering Thinking, Gratitude, Bedtime Routines)

It was time for her to fall asleep, and, as I often do, I said, “What was beautiful about your day? Can you think of three things?”

Usually, she yawns out, “You” as she nuzzles into her pillow, at which point I prompt some special moments or thoughtful acts from others that came her way. Tonight was no exception.

My Valentine’s Day surprise for her

The Valentine’s things she brought to her classmates

That even though her lip got injured at a school even by accident it healed up

The special meal Nonna made for her

The warm way Pa greeted us when we arrived at their house

Midway through, she perked up…

Her – “Daddy, you always say three things but then we end up doing seven or eight.”

Me – “That’s because there are always so many beautiful things to find in your day. We just have to look for them.”

She murmured in agreement

Me – “That way when you grow up, you’ll be conditioned to look for the good in life. People will say to you, “Wow, you’re so positive, loving and happy. Why is that?” You’ll be able to say, “I look for the good in others and in life.” It doesn’t mean that you ignore things that need to be fixed or addressed. It just means you keep your focus mainly on the good.”

And with that she drifted off to sleep.

Indeed, from start to finish, it was a good to day. And, well, when you think of the things going on in the world where people are in pain and hurting, well, I’d say it was a perfect day.

Christmas All Year (Happiness, Quality Time, Home Life)

We were just finishing up making slime and about to head out to the trampoline. She was singing Christmas songs again. I didn’t say anything but took note. She commented for me.

Her – “Daddy, whenever you hear me singing Christmas songs it means I’m happy.”

Me – “Well, I’ve been hearing a lot of Christmas songs, lately.”

Her – “That means I’m happy.”

Never thought I’d say this, but I hope to be hearing Christmas music still in July…

“Our Life Together is Good” (Stability, Bond, Quality Time)

This morning, before we zoomed out the door to school, while she was getting dressed and my school lunch readying duties were finished, I decided to fold some of our laundry…

Suddenly, she appeared around the corner…

Her – “Daddy, we have a good life together.”

Needless to say, I was surprised by her early morning, out-of-the-blue remark, and, of course, very touched that she feels that way about our relationship, home life and journey.

Me – “Aww, that is so sweet. We do have a good life together.”

We embraced for a bit

Me – “What about our life together is good?”

I was curious to hear what she would focus in on – the play dates I set up for her, tennis or soccer, our bedtime routine for her, jumping together on the trampoline, maybe the healthy foods I make sure she eats, or even prompts to clean up after herself and help around the house much to her short-term dislike…

She didn’t choose any of those. She simply said…

Her – “That you’re amazing.”

Well, I wasn’t expecting that, but it felt good to hear from her.

One can never be perfect as a parent, but if you know your child is feeling deep contentment about herself and her life while she is with you, well, that’s about as perfect an outcome as you can get, I suppose.

It makes all the efforts worth it.

Much gratitude to all the family and friends near and far who have consistently contributed to her journey thus far, and here’s to the next ten years.

The best is yet to come!

Feeling Right About Her Childhood (Stability, Bond, Quality Time)

Well, if I do get that book together with all my posts about my daughter, maybe this ought to be the final post of the book…

It was late evening, and I’d just picked her up. She was in a good mood. In fact, she seemed especially happy to see me.

Her – “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” she squealed as she got in the car.

Back home, I had her take a shower.

It seemed that she was going to use up half the water resources for the city it went on so long, but I thought, “She’s singing. Let her just unwind after a day of activity.”

She finally emerged into the kitchen where I was preparing some cucumber, carrots and turkey bits. She started dancing around…

Her – “I feel incredible with you!”

I smiled, handed over her snack and started working on her school lunch.

Her – “I feel right that I grew up with you.”

Her words took me by surprise. I turned to her and embraced her

Me – “Awww, honey, that means so much to me. And, I’m so happy that you look at your childhood that way.”

Her – “I love you.”

Me – “You can watch some TV before bed, if you like.”

Her – “Yay!”

She hopped on over to the great room and called out-

Her – “I feel really healthy with you, because you give me live foods, and that’s the key to a healthy life!”

I smiled again.

It’s funny because the other day I was beating myself up. I told myself, “Eric, here you have all these creative talents for writing, performing, and film-making and I don’t have anything significant to show for it. What have you done with the last ten years?”

But then I paused and told myself, “I’ve raised my daughter. I’ve put my heart and soul into that. That’s my achievement.”

Her – “I feel right that I grew up with you.”

What could be more of a confirmation than that?

And, as for my creative side, well, here’s to being a late bloomer. They say a bamboo shoot grows underground for years and years before it shoots out of the ground with astounding pace and reaching incredible heights.

Maybe I’m a bamboo shoot.

Who knows.

But at least my daughter thinks I did right by her. I don’t think I’ll top that in this lifetime.

Happy Daughter equals a Happy Daddy.

Priceless Feelings (Bond, Quality Time, Love and Happiness)

Today, after her school, I read with her, facilitated completing her homework, practiced soccer skills and passing, and swam in the pool with her.

It had occurred to me once or twice during our series of activities that maybe I ought to be putting more time into my business projects in the afternoon. But everything needed to be tended to. She had made commitments to read, to practice soccer, to do some computer homework and, well, we almost always swim for a bit. I wanted to get a good start to our week with these commitments, and we had a good time.

On the way back from the pool to Nonna and Papa’s house she suddenly had a little love burst, something that often happens when I’ve spent quality time with her. Nevertheless, it was still unexpected…

Her – “I feel comforted being with you…

Before I could say anything she added-

Her – “…and safe, happy, and excited!”

Such sweet words; priceless, really. Yes, I need to advance my business projects, but there is always 4am for that. Time together and her feeling like that, you just can’t put a price on it.

Happiness Business (Happiness, True success)

We had just practiced her soccer skills, and now it was time to head to the community pool where my parents live. We were on a quest to check off ‘Mastering Freestyle’ from her summer list of goals. She had prepared by watching another YouTube video on proper breathing technique. As we sauntered outside, I suddenly realized my time window was bit tight.

Me – “I only have about 30 minutes for this because I need to get to a meeting.”

Her – “Can I come?”

Me – “Well, it’s sort of a creative, business meeting.”

Her – “Awww… I started my own business.”

Me – “You have? What is your business about?”

Her – “Happiness.”

Me – “That’s interesting. You have a Happiness business?”

She sort of muttered back in a way as if to say that her thoughts probably didn’t make sense. I thought they did and pressed on for details.

Me – “So, your business offers Happiness?”

She nodded yes.

Me – “And how does your business profit from offering Happiness? You get Happiness?”

It was a leading question, but I figured it was okay as I knew where her thinking was going.

Her – “Yep. If you give Happiness then Happiness comes back to you.”

Me – “You know, I think everyone is in the Happiness business but we just forget it. I think your business is great and you should run it and grow it all of your life.”

She nodded in agreement and skipped off to open the screen door to the pool. I trailed behind contemplating the profundity of what she had so casually stated. For her, it wasn’t some wise utterance. It was just, well, how life is. Of course the business of life is Happiness.

They don’t teach you about this in school. It probably should have been lesson number one. That way we wouldn’t forget it as we get older.

The wisdom of a child.

We’re In It Together (Family, Helping, Humor)

This morning, I insisted that my daughter help with Hurricane Irma house clean up as I believe that, in a family, everyone pitches in. Nobody is sitting in the A/C on a tablet. She helped a good bit then disappeared. When my Mom arrived at our house she was laughing about a message my girl had sent her. When I heard what it was, I laughed and told her she gets credit for creative writing but then insisted she do some more house cleaning.