There are few things that little children say that startle me. Mainly because our daughter has managed to say it all. But also because that’s what children do. They embarrass you, think you’re crazy, and boy, they’ll tell one of your secrets so fast your head will spin. So far, we’ve escaped that embarrassing moment. For now.

But what fascinates me, is the adoration little girls feel for their fathers sometimes. I mean, I spend all day with this girl, trying to keep her happy, trying to make her laugh, and trying to keep her fed. You’d think I’d be fun. But when daddy comes home, the need for mommy vanishes. A new parent’s in town and nothing compares to him. To her daddy. He flings her around, tells her silly jokes, and laughs loud. And he makes her feel special.

So, after watching them dance for what seemed like three hours, I thought, I can be cool, too. I can dance with her, too. I’ll look less ridiculous maybe, but just as cool.

So here we were, the next day. Listening to music, cleaning the house, laughing and having a great time together.  I asked her if she wanted to dance. How fun! She was so excited. So, we started dancing. I felt like I was the winner. I knew in my heart of hearts that my dancing was better than my husband’s, and that she’d definitely prefer our method of dancing- a mother and her sweet little girl, making memories. It was a sweet moment. Sweet and very short lived.

“Not like this, mom. Like this. Dance like daddy!”

She really said that. She really did. In the middle of our dance, she stopped and looked me straight in the face and told me to dance like daddy. Apparently, my idea of dancing was different than her idea of dancing. I’m just not daddy, that’s the difference. It was funny. I’ll be honest, it was hilarious. I even tried to mimic his strange rhythm, and his really bad expressions. I just couldn’t be a horrible dancer. I have style and rhythm. He has jerking motions and awkward steps. How anyone calls that dancing, I have no clue. But she does. She loves it. He takes her little hand and spins her around and around. He makes her giggle and shriek and laugh so hard I’m afraid she’ll be dizzy and fall over. But that’s what they do, and he is her daddy.

And that’s their dance.

She waits for him to come through that door, you know. If she hears a truck outside she gets excited and says over and over that her daddy is home. I have to tell her he isn’t home yet, and it makes her sad. I take care of her, but boy, he makes her live. No one can compare to that. Not ever. And not even the best dancer in the world could take his place.

Because no one can dance like daddy.

I hope when she’s older, she’ll remember this. Her little hand in his, the music playing, the laughter between them. I know I’ll always remember. It makes me love him more. It makes me proud that he’s her father.

And as I watch them dance across the floor, her eyes gazing up at him, full of adoration and love, I see it so clear.

That she’s proud of her father, too.


Have you ever held something so beautiful, so amazing, and so fragile in your hands that you didn’t want to put it down? Maybe a gift from someone you love? How about that dress hanging in your closet, that was so perfect you didn’t want to wear it? So you stared at it from time to time, waiting for the perfect time to put it on? How about those other moments, those heartbreaking moments when you’re not thinking, and you set that beautiful gift down, and it shatters. The dress you kept waiting to wear for a perfect moment? It no longer fits you. These are those moments that you would take back if you could, right? And it’s heartbreaking that you just can’t.

That’s how I feel about Emma.

“I’m leaving, mommy”. She had her backpack on, her serious expression set in defiance, and I could hear Dan laughing from the other room. Where did she think she was going? I had to laugh, too. But inside, I couldn’t help but ache. Right now she is a two year old little girl, playing games, jumping around, singing songs.

But she won’t be, forever.

Sometimes I see her older, going to school, playing with friends, getting her license. And sometimes I see her dressed in white. I see her dancing with her father, in the middle of the room, the lights down low, the crowd hushed.  I see her with her head on his shoulder, his arms around her tight, like he did when she was a little girl. And then I see her walk away happily, with the man she loves, starting her own little life. It’s going to happen, you know. So in moments like this, when she comes to me and says “I’m leaving, mommy”, I can’t help but hurt. I can’t help but miss her already.

“I’m leaving, mommy”. I know it’s going to happen. I see it clearly in my mind, that her childhood days are quickly passing us by, as each day she’s smarter and prettier and bigger than she ever was. She needs me less each day, and each day I need her more. When she tells me she loves me, I have to pull her close and tell her the same. When she cries when I leave, I long to stay. And when she tells me she’s leaving, I feel my heart break.

Because I know someday, she’ll mean it. It won’t be a silly game. It will be real.

There won’t be any toys to trip over. No singing down the hall.

Her room will be empty.

That inevitable day will come. We’ll walk her to the door and tell her how much we love her. Dan will tell a joke, but I know if I look into his eyes, I’ll see his heart breaking. She’ll smile that amazing smile.

And then she’ll kiss us goodbye.

I know. I already know how it ends. But I’m not going to wait until that dress is too tight, or until that cherished gift gets broken. I’m going to enjoy every moment with that little girl, every time she laughs or cries or screams or smiles. Because it won’t last. And I don’t want to regret what I didn’t do with her.

These moments won’t last forever, things will change. And so will Emma.

She won’t be little forever. And that’s okay. Because right now, she is.

And right now, she’s ours.