My daughter, Lucy, smiles every time Cocomelon’s opening notes ring through the television speakers. It’s not a smirk, it’s a full-blown, gummy-mouthed smile too big for her cheeks to contain. My wife and I have rewound the show’s opening credits simply to catch a glimpse of that room-brightening grin.
We’ve been blessed with one of the happiest babies I’ve ever encountered. I’m reminded constantly that she’s not just a gift for us, but for everyone she encounters.
For example, on one of our weekly grocery store trips, Lucy gave that same gummy smile to an elderly cashier, who told me, “I’m so glad to see her every week. We don’t see kids in the store often anymore because of the pandemic.”
Now, as she lays aside me trying to decide on whether to chew on her whole hand or the large, rubber ball next to her, I keep thinking about the little moments in our lives that bring us happiness.
Like literally everyone else in the world, life since March 2020 hasn’t been what we thought it would be. My wife still works from home and I’m still looking for work. Lucy hasn’t seen many of our family members and many of her early milestones – like her baptism – were altered or cancelled.
Side note: Telling people in situations like ours, “just run the event through Zoom” is dismissive at best. I might sound bitter by saying that, but that suggestion doesn’t acknowledge what’s lost.
Recently, we received the news that a friend’s child, suffering from a terminal disease diagnosed just prior to the COVID outbreak, has taken a downward turn. I’ll spare further detail to keep the family private.
I’m not sure if I’m just hyper-aware because of the pandemic or because I’m a father, but their plight conjured up other situations from close friends this year – death of their family members, life-altering surgeries or other tragic events.
The last few months haven’t been easy for us, but as my wife and I talked about the most recent news, my thoughts drifted to our daughter. Sure, I’d much rather be working right now, but I’ve been given a gift most fathers don’t get – an incredible amount of time with their child.
Lucy is healthy and happy. I’ve been home to carry her outside for her first snowfall and watch her crinkle her face at the taste of peaches. I’ve seen Lucy’s Cocomelon smile and heard her belly laugh at my wife’s jokes.
Enjoy the Little Things.
When things return to somewhat normal, we won’t take the Jack-and-Coke at a local bar for granted again. Think about how nice it’ll be to try on a pair of pants in the store before you buy them, or just walking around the grocery store without a mask.
I keep that in mind now, knowing well my time with Lucy won’t last forever. I soak up every moment she looks up at me from the grocery store basket and appreciate her numerous attempts to crawl that end up in her rolling on her back to the floor.
Shit happens and life will never be easy, but through it all, those little moments are what get you by. Enjoy them whenever possible.