We cruised along this morning and shared our enjoyment with the cool weather, and laughed and played our silly little games when I remembered the book.
"Hey, Little Bit, guess what..."
"After we get to school I have a gift for you."
Her, all excited, doing the little girl squeal, "What is it, Papa?"
I reach around and get the gift from my bag and tuck it under my left arm, teased her with my evil chuckle, then.
"Wait, Honey, I'll give it to you later." Now she's about to rocket from her seat, she claps her hands and begins to sing one of her 'made up on the spot' songs, "Papa has a surprise for me...repeat...Papa has a surprise for me."
She reads to me every morning, her voice soft, lyrical, tender. Recently her subject matter has been stories of Barbie. Barbie and her little sister solving mysteries or sharing high adventures. Little Bit had expressed her love of the book one morning when she'd been arrested and shut into her bedroom. The book was and is her escape from the realities of her little world.
One morning, as we waited in the car line, she had expressed sadness over the book.
"Why?" I'd asked.
"Cause, Papa, I have to take my book back to the library and I'll miss it."
"It's fine, Sweetheart, you can check it out again."
"We have to wait, Papa, 'cause they said other people may want it too."
I'm a sneaky booger when necessary. I took a quick glance at the book. 'Barbie's Collected Stories,' who knew....
Later, when I made it back to my office I hit Amazon.com and ordered her a copy. They had three copies available....again, is this a rare collected piece of literature... doesn't matter. My small gift of God deserves her own copy.
Within a few days it arrives. I stash it away in my bag and this morning as we're sitting in the car line I dig it out and hand it over.
I cannot remember her words verbatim but it ranged from a very high squeal to just under a glass shattered yell.
"Oh, Papa, really, it's mine."
"Yes, Honey, all yours."
as she's jumping up and down in the truck seat....
"Papa, you mean I can keep it all my life?"
"Yes, Sweetheart, you may keep it for the rest of your life."
She then reached over and took my pen and turned to the inside page and wrote, 'I love Papa.'
I'm here to tell you, it took a great amount of self-control to not....well, you know.