Kinley: “Aw, how cute! There’s a little girl coming to see you!”
Katie: “Yeah, but that little girl is standing in the middle of the street!”
I had just pulled up to the curb in front of our house and turned the engine off on the big blue bus, then turned my attention to the pile of debris on the floor next to my seat, trying to figure out how to muster the energy to get it all into the house.
We had just returned from an all-day trip to Denver to WaterWorld for an almost-end-of-the-summer fling for Katie and her friends for which I had taken the day off work. Eight hours in the baking sun with a crew of teenagers and two of my boys, Will and Noah. It was fun, but I was feeling my age before we made it home.
I heard the comments of Kinley and Katie coming from the row behind me, and after letting the words sink in for a couple of seconds about a little girl in the street, I came abruptly to attention and turned to look out my window at the street below.
There was Meghan, my two-year-old princess, standing in the street next to my door wearing only a diaper and a t-shirt and signs of dinner on her face, with her hands stretched toward me and sporting that big-brown-eyed, bashful smile.
Her lips moved to the words “Hi, Dad,” though I could hear no sound through the closed window. I quickly gave up on the debris-hauling logistics and opened the door to the sunshine.
“Hi, Dad,” she said again.
“Hello, Baby, I’m so happy to see my little sunshine girl!”
I pulled her into my arms, weighty diaper and all, and gave her a good squeeze. She smiled, bashfully again, toward Kinley in the back seat, as I nuzzled my whiskers on her tanned and dirty cheek.
With a pile of kids in my bed this morning, before I arose at Katie’s beckoning that it was time to get moving, Meghan heard Katie talking about going somewhere, and said emphatically, “I go wiss you!” Minutes later, she was looking for her “fip fops”, and after she had them she came to me again, still wearing her nightgown and sweetly proposed, “I go wiss you, Dad?”
“No, Honey, you have to stay home with Mommy this time.”
Evidently, she had forgiven me for leaving her behind.
Meghan has been in that phase lately in which she’s not quite sure how to ask to be held by any of us, and most frequently, it comes out something like, “hoedjou,” which is tough to spell, but easy to translate when it comes with outstretched arms: Hold you is what she means.
It’s an interesting turn of phrase, when you consider that since I’m so much bigger, the only one of us who will be doing any holding is me. On the other hand, though, it seems most of the benefit comes my way, as if I’m a child crawling up into the lap of my Mom or Dad.
I am refreshed as I’m held by Meghan and my deepest beliefs are confirmed: There is a God. He knows my name. He makes little girls with lots of sunshine and soft things. Love makes the world go ’round. I can handle much more when I have support.
Meghan is laying here asleep next to me now, as I type this. She’s had a bath and milk and a story, and I’m convinced she’s the most beautiful creature this side of heaven. Even sound asleep with her arms stretched out on either side of her, she’s still holding me.