Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Moments Saved and Cherished

I've been using Facebook more often these days, though I see myself growing a bit tired of it. I'll try to continue being a good Facebooker, but honestly, I'd much rather tell a story than to just succintly let all of you know what I'm doing at the moment.

This is what I mean. I just updated my status on Facebook and it reads: "Alex just finished having a conversation with Lucia and soon after got an 'I love you daddy' from Gideon before he went to bed. =)."

Pretty special moments, wouldn't you agree?

But, a lot of detail has been left out. It feels out of character to limit my words to about 50 characters (I think). Here's the extended version.

Lucia is growing more fond of me and likes sitting pretty on my lap for minutes on end. As I wrote in a previous post, she sounded the crying alarm all the time after being in my arms for only 1o seconds. Now, she relaxes on my lap, looks up at me with her green/hazel eyes, and begins to tell me what is on her mind in squeeky, cute-pitched sounds. I have no clue what she is saying, but it feels like she trusts me. It feels like she is telling me that she is appreciating the moment as much as I am.

Soon thereafter, Gideon comes into the living room. Alexa tells him from another room, "Ok Gideon, say good night to Daddy." He comes to me and says "Hi Daddy."

I did not know that he was heading for bed, so I said "Hey Buddy." He then turned around and walked to his room and I continued wrapping up some work.

On any given night, Alexa or I, or both of us, go in after him, lift him up to put him in the crib, and then say our night time prayer aloud.

Alexa walks into the living room minutes later and asks me, "Did he say goodnight?"

"Oh, is he going to bed?"

Realizing that Gideon did not say goodnight, Alexa tells him, "Go say goodnight to Daddy! It's time for bed"

Gideon walks into the living room wearing his pajamas and both hands full with 2 of his teddy bears, one of them being Pooh. He kisses me on the cheek, hugs me, and says "Night Daddy!" With a sense of urgency he walks away knowing that he must go to bed.

As he neared the hallway at the edge of the living room, I say, "Good Night, Gideon. I love you."

He stops in his tracks and looks right at me.

"I love you Daddy."

Gideon continues down the hallway to his bedroom as if nothing special just happened. Alexa, being at the entrance of the living room and witnessing the event, raises her right hand with a softly clinched fist to her heart and became teary-eyed within milliseconds. Then she looked at me with the eyes of loving wife that understands what just had happened. Our child expressed his love, verbally.

"I love you." It's a phrase we take for granted. Sometimes, we just walk out the door without saying it to the one we love. Other times, we say it, but really don't feel it because it's become routine.

When "I love you" comes out of the mouth of babes, it reminds us that love is truly something special. We learn how to say it, just as Gideon did, but true love in itself is not learned. It is something that is embedded in us and is up to us to cultivate or grow it to the point of verbal expression.

"I love you, Daddy." Though said innocently, it means that Gideon loves me. Sure, I always knew this was the case. Gideon does love me and knows that I'm different than the other men in my family, church, and everywhere else. Perhaps he's always told me that he loves me, but I just didn't understand. Maybe Lucia already told me that she loves me, perhaps even tonight.

These are memories a loving father can't forget. The first time their son, their first born says, "I love you, Daddy," and the growing bond between a dad and his daughter.

Friday, January 02, 2009

A Lucia Picture
Because I realized that there aren't enough pictures of Lucia in the post below.