My daughters are slipping through my fingers...
There is one piece of human contact this is most meaningful to me. It is when one of my daughters, unprovoked, kneels next to me in a restaurant booth and puts her little arm around my neck like I'm her best friend and then tenderly kisses my cheek, twice or three times if I'm really lucky. It's best when I'm actually in a conversation with Heidi and it's happening as somewhat of a sidebar affection, not needy instant affirmation and recognition.
This happened last night as I was talking to Heidi. Kami just drew next to me and felt moved to affirm her love with physical affection. I purposely didn't acknowledge it to see if it was motivated by a counter-response, but she apparently didn't need my acknowledgement, because she continued to give it regardless of my reaction. This made it all the more special. There's something diminishing about rewarding affection instantaneously conditioning the affectee to give only to get. Like a dog waiting on a "snausage"-treat upon performing a trick. Kami was just bent toward expressing her love last night regardless of my reciprocation.
I did eventually respond, but you could tell it wasn't about that.
I love when my daughters climb on the couch and attempt to give me a massage with their brittle, nimble little fingers...especially Taylor. She likes to stand on the couch just behind me while I'm watching TV and haphazardly rub the back of my neck trying to please me. You can tell she's just wanting my pleasure, because she'll say over and over again, "Daddy, does that make you feel good?" "Daddy, do you like when I do this?" It's so cute. It is so weak that it barely even gets to the muscle, it's more like a skin massage. But it's not about the massage, it's about having my daughter's little hands on me. It's about hearing her breathe down my neck. It's about sharing that little moment of close proximity where a daddy and daughter share something so heavenly you can almost feel the brush of angel's wings. I love the cold feel of her little paws on my shoulders.
All my daughters love to cuddle, folding into my body like a hand in a glove. I wrap my arms around their curled up bodies and draw them tight to my chest. I kiss them on the neck and the head and the cheek over and over and over again, pressing my nose against their skin and smelling their unique God-given oily aroma. They each smell differently to me...I love how even the smelling sense is stirred by their presence.
I need to pull away from the pressing responsibilities of life to be with them more. There is coming a day when they will want more independence in their adolescence and have more independence in their adulthood and I won't be able to soak in these moments of closeness with them. They will be unavailable or uninterested and I will look back wishing I had seized the time I had with more deliberate intentionality. It's just so easy to get wrapped up in life and lose sight of and touch with the finer things, the best things, the fleeting things, the everlasting things.
I just needed to write to stir up my affections for my little girls again. I simply cannot let them slip through my fingers. My heart depends on it more than theirs.