Why We Work: Her Sweaty Damp Curls In The Palm Of My Hand
Today’s my daughter’s 12th birthday. I first wrote this probably 8 or 9 years ago – I hope you enjoy it.
Let me know what you think:
I love putting my daughter to bed. It’s one of the few times I have no problem letting go and disconnecting, and simply enjoy being right there in the moment.
We usually spend a lot of time talking about what went on during her day. We laugh and joke with one another… and then I cuddle her and she falls asleep cuddling her own little doll, which she’s had almost all entire life.
Last night, I thought she was asleep, and when I started turning, to rise up and out of her bed… she said softly… with her eyes closed, “Don’t go daddy. Hold my hand.”
As long as I live, I will never forget this. It was as pure as life could be.
So 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.
You know, there are certain distinct facial features that babies, infants, and young children have, that get lost as they get older.
For example, her lips.
That thin line that separates your lips and the skin immediately around your lips, is very defined when you’re young. But this line loses its sharpness as you grow up. It’s as if fine sandpaper somehow slightly smoothes the edges down, as you go from being an infant to a young child.
And her eyelashes.
You can see each individual long dark eyelash as if they were soft feathers, growing up out of her eyelids — slightly thinner than a narrow pencil lead you slide into an automatic pencil, but bouncy and flexible, not rigid and stiff.
And as she’s falling asleep, I’m lucky enough to rub my course fingers back through her silky fine damp curls, and over her perfectly smooth round head. I can feel each of her hairs brush over my clumsy and calloused hands, which, for some reason… don’t seem to be so clumsy at this moment.
And as I’m looking down at her face and at her tiny little body, I’m hoping — with all the might I can muster up — that I will NEVER ever lose this exact feeling, or these exact memories.
That I can somehow permanently “burn” this moment into my mind like a craftsman burns a scene into a wooden block, creating permanent etchings of a design.
I felt, perhaps more grateful in that moment, than ever before, in my entire life.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could recall images like this one, that are buried away inside your memory banks, automatically… the same way your elbow automatically twitches when you bang that one spot right behind it?
This would be the perfect pick-me-up whenever you’re down or frustrated about something — whenever life’s momentarily punched you in the gut.
Although as I’m here in this moment with her, it seems hard to think that life could be anything but perfect. Her little spirit is so bright and so warm, nothing could possibly diminish it.
She is as light… and happy… as a kitten.
She is only the second woman in my life I’ve ever gotten close to — her mom (my wife) being the first. And both of them have a very soothing effect on me.
As I’m sitting here, I am reminded again of what’s important. The truth is, there are no memories created while you are sitting in front of your computer. No fun experiences you’ll ever remember… no “peak moments” you’ll look back on.
It is all just a means to an end — and hopefully an end you are making worthwhile.
And since it’s the memories in life you carry around that make you or break you — memories that fill you up with happiness, or leave you feeling drained and empty and with nothing in your tank but sorrow — it’s important to keep this in mind.
On second thought, I don’t think I’ll have too much trouble recalling something this powerful.
At least… not for a good long while, anyway.
Now go make some memories, Craig Garber
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