When I look at my daughter, what do I see? There is so much in every glance. Usually, she’s moving too fast to pin down, running at me yelling, “Daddy!!!” I don’t know how anyone even looks at their kids without tearing up, even a little. There is of course a narcissistic joy in having someone around who (for now) loves you unconditionally. But there’s more.
When my daughter was a baby, she had the biggest eyes, like out of a Japanese cartoon. They were what everyone noticed. One day when I was pulling into the hospital I looked into the rear view mirror and I saw her eyes looking back at me. My eyes, with their heavy brow and cynical glint were the same shape as the ones that blinked at me in the morning when I changed her diapers. But strangely, they were also her mom’s, so big and round, taking in everything, missing nothing. And yet when she began to speak, her voice was her own, and still very much is.
I’ve always carried my daughter on my shoulders, and she’s always cooperated by being quite little. Yesterday on our family walk she asked for “uppy” and she wasn’t quite so easy to hoist up. I really gonna hate the day she can’t ride on my shoulders.
I know that life has a trajectory, that her growing up means my learning to live with that. I really know, so I try to suck up every second. I try to sneak home from work early, or put off her bedtime, or whatever else I can do to get a few more seconds of cuddles.
I can’t say it’s not nice this evening. I’m sitting in my back yard with a cold beer, looking at the garden we planted together, the three of us, up at a blue sky, with a gently breeze making the maple leaves shimmer. But my daughter is out tonight, giving my folks a well-deserved portion of her love.
Damn it I miss her.