Her Sweaty Wet Curls In The Palm Of Your Hand
Yesterday I worked out later than usual. I met my sons at the gym after they finished school, and then came home and spent some time with the family.
After dinner, we all went out into the jacuzzi to relax — something we RARELY get the time to do together as our fast-paced lives don’t often give us a moment to put the brakes down on them, anywhere nearly as much as we’d all like.
While we were enjoying the warm water, Samantha kept saying a word that kept sinking deeper and deeper into my head, over-and-over-again. Every time she says it, no matter where we are or what I’m doing, it’s like the heavens are opening up, shining rainbows down on me.
It’s funny, because even when I was younger and my sons were little, I enjoyed this word the same way, but perhaps because Sam is my youngest, or perhaps because she’s a girl, or perhaps I’m older — things just seem go go in slow motion when she says it.
Oddly enough, that word is “daddy.”
After the fun experience we all had last night, it reminded me of a story I wrote about a year ago. At the time, I received a lot of comments on it, and so I wanted to share it with you again. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Here you go:
There are few things that stop me dead in my tracks.
Most of the time I’m on “full-tilt” as Janis Joplin used to say — and trust me, this is a blessing… and a curse. Slowing down isn’t always easy.
But one of the things that means everything to me — one of those “moments I always MAKE time for” — is when it’s time to put my daughter to bed.
You know, it’s funny, but your kids mark your aging and mortality, more than anything else in the world. For instance, you don’t usually look at yourself in the mirror and say “Gee, I’m aging”… and especially when you’re active and fit and you take care of yourself health-wise like I do, it’s also not often you stop and say “I can’t do what I used to do when I was younger,” either.
But you will quite often look at your children from time-to-time and see simply incredible changes in them — either physically, developmentally, or as far as what they do on their own without you — and realize “Gosh, I remember way back when…” and then you DO feel like vast spans of time has lapsed, simply “because.”
Anyway, like I said, I love putting my daughter to bed.
We usually talk for a little bit, and then she just falls asleep cuddling her little doll.
Last night, I thought she was asleep and when I got up, she said, with her eyes closed, “Don’t go daddy. Hold my hand.”
I laid back down with her and I let her curl her little fingers around my thumb, while I gently cupped the rest of my hand around the back of hers.
There are certain distinct facial features that babies, infants, and young children have, that get lost as they get into their “older” years — let’s say by age 8.
For example, her lips.
The distinction between your lips and the skin immediately around your lips, is very defined when you are young. It’s like the line around the rim of your lips sort of loses its sharpness as you start aging, as if fine sandpaper has somehow slightly smoothed this edge, making it softer and less noticeable.
Women are obviously aware of this, and use lip-liner to bring that definition out once again, as it is a truly beautiful characteristic.
And her eyelashes.
You can see each individual long dark eyelash as if it was a slim rod growing up out of her eyelids, slightly thinner than one of those narrow pencil leads you slide into an automatic pencil, but nowhere nearly as stiff.
And as she’s falling asleep, I’m lucky enough to rub my course calloused fingers back through her silky fine blonde damp curls, and over her perfectly smooth round head.
I can feel each of her long viny hairs over my clumsy hands, which somehow don’t seem to be so clumsy at those moments.
As I’m looking down at her face and at her tiny little body, I’m wondering — hoping with all my might, that somehow I will never ever lose this feeling, or these memories — that I can somehow permanently press this image into my mind like an artist burns the edge of a soldering iron into a wooden block, creating permanent etchings of a design.
I wonder if there is a way I could instantly recall images, feelings, and experiences like this one, that are buried away inside my memory banks “automatically,” the same way your elbow “automatically” twitches when you bang it in that spot right behind it — whenever I get down or frustrated by something that’s going “wrong”.
Although at this very moment, it seems hard to think anything could possibly be “wrong” in my life.
She is only the second woman in my life I’ve ever gotten close to — her mom (my wife) being the first. Both of them have a very soothing effect on me, and they are perhaps the only people I’ve ever listened to at first blush.
Strange, isn’t it? That someone so little, can be so important and so vital to your being…
On second thought, I don’t think I’ll have too much trouble recalling this experience — at least not for a good long while anyway.
Now go sell something, Craig