Wandering through the dark house, checking the locks and closing up, I make my way to your room to make sure that the covers are protecting you from the chilly autumn evening. As I stand in the doorway, the glow of your lava lamp casts shadows throughout your room. A smile grows on my face as I straighten the pile of books on your night stand. It amazes me how grown up my little girl has become.
Earlier in the night, I was reviewing some of the older articles from the Family category of the blog featuring you. I revisited moments that have chronicled your growth. Memories flooded back of sitting in the rocking chair of your little room, reading a book to you before bed every night. Those same books, you have since read on your own, now reside on your book shelves. I started thinking back on the times when you would climb up into the bed, little more than a toddler, and ask me to read to you. I miss those times sitting on your bed, and becoming your personal storyteller. You no longer need a storyteller since you are reading more books than you father can keep up with. As the books are straightened, my smile broadens at these wonderful memories.
Looking around your room, the glow of your iPod as it rests in the docking station pulls me to another time when you were first introduced to music. Wanting to make sure you had a good foundation for you future choices, I created your music playlist with songs from The Beatles, The Who, Fleetwood Mac, and many more. I beamed with pride as you would tell anyone who would listen that your favorite bands were The Beatles and KISS. Over the years, music has become a huge part of you and who you are becoming. You dance around the house singing a tune and giggling as you spread your joy throughout the house.
As I sit down on the bed and tuck the covers up around you, I think back to all the years you have brightened my life. I watch the mental montage of birthdays, holidays, and those special moments. I smile remembering the walks in the park, watching you play your first soccer games, and the amazement of seeing you ride your bike without training wheels. I reflect on images of your artwork that adorns my office walls and it reminds me of how creative you are in all that you do. I also shudder as I remember the times you were sick. I remember all the moments that make up both of our lives and hope that I am doing the best for you.
Memories flood through me as I lean over to give you one last kiss for the night. Brushing your hair out of your face and whispering “I love you. Sweet dreams,” I turn to leave the room and leave you to your dreams. Turning away in the dark, I hear a soft, raspy sleepy voice, “I love you too, Daddy”.
Happy Birthday, my dear daughter.