After dinner and baths this evening, I went into the kitchen (like every night) to clean up the mess we had left. As I swept the floor, J grabbed the girls and took them into the playroom.
He has been working late recently, often only seeing the girls for a few minutes in the morning before he heads out the door. But today was different, J left work early (something he NEVER does) and actually got to spend a solid two hours with them before bed. Their time together started with Dizzle running back home from across the street yelling, "There's Daddy's truck! There's Daddy's truck!" And instantly I thought, "I wish she reacted that way when she sees me."
After 30 minutes of yard work, which Dizzle quite enjoys, we all came inside to eat dinner together (another rare occurrence in our house). And it was wonderful. The girls made a mess, Dizzle retold the events of the day and we bonded. Nothing fancy. We simply connected.
Then the three of them headed off to the playroom. Almost instantly the room was filled with happiness. Playing "Daddy Tunnel," as Dizzle calls it, the girls climb on, crawled under and rolled around J, with an endless stream of laughter behind them. It was so simple, but they loved it so much.
As I listened on, I couldn't help to think how perfect this moment was and how I wish that 5 years (or even 5 months) from now that the girls would remember it. To be honest, they probably won't. For them it was a fleeting moment, for me it was more. It was a meter of how much we have grown as a family and how much I wish I remembered more moments like that with my father.
It has been nearly six years since my father passed away and like anyone would, I remember the big moments with him, the silly times we shared, both alone and with our whole family. I remember the big picture, but it's the small things that I forget. Those moments like the girls had tonight. I know there were many of them, but as I get older and the time without him gets longer, the harder it is to hold on to them. It makes me realize how much I miss him and how much I wish he could have a part in my children's lives too. Because I know that no matter how many pictures I show them and how many stories I tell them, it will never be the same as if they had their own memories of him. But as sad as this realization makes me, it also makes me want to cherish every memory with Dizzle and Doodle. I want them to remember the small things. I want them to have perfect moments, however few and far between. Because even as an onlooker, as I was tonight, those moments can affect you for a lifetime - even if you don't remember them.