Laying next to my daughter...

I woke up hours earlier than my alarm. What does it say about you when you consistently don't need your alarm in order to wake up on time? Probably that I'm old.

I usually head down to the couch and lay there waiting for the world to wake up. I keep peeking out the window to see if daybreak is filling up the easter sky. If I'm lucky, I eek out a couple more Z's before the day's activities ambush me like a thief in the night.

But this morning, instead of heading to the right out my bedroom door and down to the living room couch, I waddled to the left and made my way to my daughter's room and up the ladder into Aly's bunk bed. She was still fast asleep, looking lifeless apart from this almost serious look on her face like she was figuring out a math problem in her dreamworld. I crawled along the wall trying not to disturb her and slowly lifted her blankets making room for myself under her messing comforter. She cracked open her eyes and squinted at me as if to say, "What is the meaning of this intrusion?" It didn't take long for her to process what was happening. I could tell she wordlessly was welcoming me into her world. I knew this because of the little grin that showed up on her face.

I pressed my face against hers and began to rub her forehead with the back of my hand like my grandma used to do with me. The only difference between my touch and grandmas is that I don't have long fingernails. With the tips of my fingers I gently raked my fingers through her thin dirty blonde hair following through to the back of her neck, then under her ear grazing her jaw bone and then circling up to her nose and around her eye socket only to find myself back where I started somewhere on her forehead hairline. I repeated that cycle again and again religiously. I remember how it used to put me into a trance.

As I circled her head with my hand feeling her soft skin under the nerve endings of my fingertips, I stared at her 9 year old face. Every several seconds she would twitch and squeeze her eyelids involuntarily. Every time she would twitch and I would feel the irresistible urge to peck her cheek with the kiss of a doting father. I don't know as I'll ever get credit for those kisses offered in Aly's unconsciousness, but I'm conscious of them, every last one. They may be the purest of kisses of all because their motives aren't self-seeking. They aren't given with the expectation of a response. They are unconditional offerings of love.

My left arm was falling asleep as I laid sideways stroking Aly's face with my right hand. I didn't care. Those moments are momentous.

I don't know what drew me to my daughter's side this morning. I rarely know for sure why God seems to almost pull me around on a leash some days, like an owner taking his dog to the park. I will be fighting the leash in the initial moments wanting to follow my instinctive patterns, but whenever I quit fighting the jerk of tension and the leash slacks as I move toward the tension, I find that I'm always led to a proverbial park of pleasure. Just like a dog, I am normally content with the fenced in backyard, but if I can let the leash of God's will pull me along, I am never disappointed with where he takes me in my walk with Him.

Today, like Mary, I chose the "better thing", I took "the road less travelled and it made all the difference." Sometimes you have to do something different in order to make a difference.

Boy, do I want to make a difference...especially with my girls.


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