I dropped Abby off at day care this morning. It’s something I do pretty much every day. It’s our time together. I love that little girl so much. There’s nothing better than being her daddy.
The highlight of each day is when I go pick her up. The ladies go back to get her, and as soon as she comes through those double-doors, she sprints towards her daddy like Usain Bolt, followed by reciprocating hugs and kisses. It’s special, and it’s special every single day.
I’m writing this on Thursday and won’t be able to pick her up today or take her in the morning. I’m headed to Amelia Island, Florida, for my first speaking engagement in almost 100 days. I’m so grateful that the Georgia Utility Contractors Association selected me to give the opening keynote. I’ll also be grateful to be at the beach. Although I’m not there quite yet.
I stopped in Americus, Georgia, to get some tires from my friend Marty. He’s the tire guru down here. I met him at an event at his church a couple of years ago. I sent him a picture of the tire that I needed, so he’d have the four of them in stock when I got here. He always takes care of me.
There was one problem, however. I sent him a picture of the tire that goes to the truck. Yeah, those don’t fit on a Sonata. Sometimes I’m such a bonehead.
Fortunately, they had another size on hand that fit. Now, I’m waiting outside in the heat, amidst these pesky Georgia gnats.
I just flipped a 5-gallon bucket upside so I’d have something to sit on. It’s right next to a trash can, so my nose isn’t very happy with me right now. Maybe that’s why I’m engulfed with these little no-see-ems. I should probably move the bucket. This is not the highlight of my day.
Now, I’m just thinking about Abby. Like most of you reading this, I’ve been through a lot in my life — many ups and downs — and if anything had played out differently in any way, well, there probably wouldn’t be an Abby. I just can’t imagine my life without her. She always makes me smile, even when she’s screaming for her mommy at 2 a.m.
Yesterday, on our ride home, she said she wanted some cookies. I usually have a snack for her but didn’t on this day, so I eased on into The Gentral — that’s Dollar General for those of you not in the loop — for some Nilla Wafers. “Cookies!” That’s what she wanted.
About a mile or two down the road, I decided that I needed a snack, too. She was really enjoying them when I asked her if I could have one.
“Mine!” the 2½ year old snapped back.
“Please, let me have one,” I asked, smiling.
“My cookies!” she yelled.
They can be somewhat selfish at this age. Nevertheless, I persisted.
“Abby, if you don’t give me a cookie, I’m going to take them away from you!” I said. “You need to share.” She needed to know who was in charge.
So, I put my hand back there again expecting to get that elusive cookie, but that didn’t happen. She didn’t say a word. She just reached up and grabbed ahold of my hand and didn’t let go for the next 15 minutes as I drove home — even when I pulled over in The Gap — that’s Jackson’s Gap for those of you not in the loop — to get this picture.
Now, make no mistake about it; she was probably still eating cookies with her other hand, but I’ll take the feeling of her grasping my hand over a cookie any day.
I’m so grateful that God granted me the gift of fatherhood to this perfect miracle — and she is just that. She was born seven and a half weeks early in the back of an ambulance on Friday the 13th — for those of you not in the loop.
For all the dads out there, Happy Father’s Day. Enjoy every second, every minute, every hour and every day. They grow up so fast, and even when they do grow up, enjoy every second, every minute, every hour and every day. That way, you’re always in the loop.