“It’s just you and me, dad…”

I was ‘upset’ with you because it was past 10 o’clock and I knew you were tired but you kept getting out of your bed – it was one of those nights. I stood by your door because I knew you would get up again. When you saw me through the cracked door, you knew why I was there so you ran back to bed. I tucked you back in again and told you that it’s ‘night-night time’ and you asked me to hold your hand, just like every night. Of course, I did. As we lay there in your tiny bed, you held my thumb and you said softly, “I love you dad.”
“I love you too Ella,” and you leaned up to give me a hug.  Even though we already went through our nightly routine of these things earlier, I happily did them again with you even though I knew you were just trying to butter me up because you didn’t want to go to sleep.

“It’s just you and me, dad.”
“It’s just you and me dad, just you and me” as you pat my hand.
“Yup, it’s just you and me baby.”

You remembered me saying that very thing a number of times when your mommy and sissy were gone on nights just like tonight, but those words at that very moment hit me just right.

I tried to hide my tears while you innocently showed me how you can make your hand into a doggy, but I don’t think I fooled you. Those words hit me just right along with the realization that I HAVE to remember this moment – I have to remember it for the rest of my life because I know you’ll never be 3 years and 29 days old again.  There will be a time when you don’t want me to lay down with you while you go to bed and ask to hold my hand, and it makes me sad . But at the same time, I cry uncontrollably because I’m unimaginably happy for the fact that I just experience that.  I am the luckiest person in the world to have had that experience and felt the unconditional love for something. I just lived the most simple, yet special moment any person could ever hope to live.I could have lied there and held your hand all night as I have on other nights, but you tossed and turned and my legs hung over the edge and I didn’t want to crowd you in your big-girl bed. My only condolence is that I know you’ll get up in the middle of the night tonight and climb in my bed and I’ll get to spend at least one more night with you.  One more night before you grow up and move away and live your own, much-deserved life.

I have, and I will continue, to live off these moments and cherish them in spite of the fact that you will never appreciate how much I love you and how much you mean to me, until you have kids of your own – and even then I’m not sure you’ll ever know.  I hope one day you will know, more than anything in this world. But for some reason, the way I feel for you right now, I can’t imagine anyone else feeling. I feel that it’s utterly unique, and forever mine.

This moment is mine and I’ll try not to ever forget it, and no one can ever take it away from me.

I love you Ella.

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