Even though I have been crazy busy at work, during the past two weeks I’ve been able to go out with just my daughter on special date nights and I have loved every minute of them!
For our first date night this year we went to the library together for a book reading. I didn’t take the camera. Sometimes I like to just be ‘in the moment’ and not always worried about capturing it on video/film. But I do always want to remember her sitting with legs crossed, the only kid not sitting with the other five kids in the front row. The awkward smile on her face that she gets when she’s nervous. How she so badly wanted to do the hand motions to all the songs that the other kids new by heart, but she had never sung them before. And just how much love I felt in my heart watching her as I sat on the floor in the back of the room.
After the library we went to McDonald’s and got one cheeseburger and one ice cream cone with a lid of mini m&m’s. We talked about what she did that day with mom, how tall the flagpole was outside, and about how to eat an ice cream cone.
Today, I took her to the sledding hill I used to go to when I was a kid. It’s right at the end of my old street and just driving through the neighborhood made me feel like a boy again. This wasn’t her first time sledding. When we were in Pennsylvania a few weeks ago, we went with my best friend Kurt and his kids down what I thought was a very large hill, but by the end of the night Ella was charging down all by herself. The last time down, her sled took a sharp turn just as it was coming to a stop and a wave of fresh powder shot up into her face. Sometimes a dad’s reaction is enough to tell his kid that everything is all right. I shouted, “Awesome, you ATE SNOW!” as I came running down the hill. She was delighted at this new thought that quickly replaced the fear I could see sweeping over her face. “Yeah!” she replied. And from then on it was a badge of courage that she shared with everyone. “I ate SNOW!”
So today it was no surprise that after only a few times down the slower hill, we now sat, my legs wrapped tightly around her in the sled, at the top of the steep hill. She didn’t hesitate. “GO!” she commanded and so with a quick shove (after a few false starts) we dropped down the exhillerating descent and filled the woods with our laughter.
At the bottom of the hill the immediate response from her lips were, “Wanna do it again!”
That’s my girl.
Then on the way back up the hill out of nowhere came an arrow that struck me straight in my heart and instantly melted it. “I love you, daddy.” She even said it twice.
Here’s more pics of our fun in the forest!