Friday, December 9, 2011

It's The Little Things

We're slowly under way, leaving the long parking lot on the way to school. She'd eaten her breakfast and is happy, singing a Christmas carol in her sweet little voice. As we make a turn a huge flock of birds, grackles I believe, sweep in and take perch in the oaks.

There are hundreds of them. Before I can stop her she unsnaps her seat belt and pulls herself up for a clearer look. "Oh, Papa, look at the beautiful birds."

"I see them, Honeybun, now put your belt back on please."

She snaps the belt, and then, "Papa, I want to be a bird."

And here is where it all began. I didn't give a thought to my response, I mean whom among us would have second thoughts to such a statement.

So, I said, "Not me, Sweetheart. I like the way I am, human."


We ride. I look towards her and she's taking in her part of the world on the right side of the truck. It's cold outside. Heavy clouds have painted our part of the country gray. Nice weather. I said. "Penny for your thoughts."

She took a deep breath, and in one continuous sentence, which is her way at times, "Papa I don't want to be a bird either then because if you don't want to be a bird then I'm not because I always want to be where you are and Nana too because I don't ever want to be alone again or anymore 'cause I'll cry and be lonely if you and Nana aren't with me." Or, words to that effect.

Deep breath, then again, "Papa, will you always be with me?"

There it is.

It hit me like a rock. How does one answer such a question. She's six for pete's sake. How am I supposed to face down my mortality in the few minutes we have left before I drop her off at school. I'll not lie to her. Then again, I have no desire to spoil this beautiful little girl's morning with the knowledge she has a full day of school ahead of her. And, I won't be able to speak with her again until the next morning.

I glance over and she has those big brown eyes locked on me. She wants an answer. So, I tried.

"Sweetheart, I'll try to always be with you."

Blink, blink. She frowned. I knew she didn't buy it.


"What, Honey."

"Will you always be with me?"

"Honey, can we talk about this another day, please."

Now tears have developed and are making their way down her soft pretty face. I knew it. I blew it. Should have lied.

"No, Papa. Please tell me, will you always be here for me."

"Little Bit, do you remember when your friends mother went to heaven a few weeks ago?"

"Yes." She's red faced now. Then before I can continue she goes, "Oh, Papa, are you going to heaven to live with God too?"

A quick, "No," from me. "Listen, Honey, Papa's fine, I'm not going to heaven anytime soon."

I hope.

I said the hell with it (to myself) and pulled over. I didn't care if we were a bit late. When the truck came to a stop she jerked off her seat belt and climbed into my arms. I held her, hugged her, kissed her, spoke softly to her. The tears were full on now. I explained that people of a certain age always pass on and 'go live with God.'

I talked softly and further stated that Papa would be with her for many more years. I gently pressed my lips to her ear and said, "Honey, nothing in this world can keep us separate. You'll be much older, a grown-up, when Papa has to leave this world. Even then Nana will still be here with you, and when I'm gone I'll still love you, always. I'll keep watch over you. I'll be your guardian angel. Papa will forever be a part of your life.

She has a vise grip on me. I dug out a paper napkin and tried to dry away her tears, wiped her nose. I teared up too. Hate it, but there it is. This, was breaking my heart.

"You promise, Papa. You really promise."

"Yes. Papa promises, I'll be with for a very long time."

Just like all women the world over, she took the napkin and pulled down the visor mirror and cleaned her face.  We had a couple more seconds of hugs and kisses and then continued our journey.

Just before she stepped from the truck, she turned and, "Papa, you promise, right?"

I told her I always keep my promises.

She waved and was gone.



  1. Matt, thank you. Just think how I felt.

  2. Is it really lying if you tell a child that you will always be with them while meaning that they will carry the memory of you everywhere with them as long as they live? Seems to me to be a matter of intent and unspoken content.

    Regardless, you did the right thing by stopping and clearing things up right then and there. Wish I had learned that earlier in my relationship with The Queen. Would have saved me a late night or two.

  3. When she is all grown up, she is going to love you for this blog and all that you have put in it! I think most kids don't get to see a lot of the innermost feelings their parents and grandparents have for them. You are leaving her an amazing piece of your heart through this blog! You are also setting quite an example of what a good role model is. Be proud of yourself, parental role models these days leave a lot to be desired!


  4. Thank you for sharing this. I have to go now.. I have something in my eyes...

  5. Shepherd K, I'm not sure. I will not lie to her either way. Thank you very much for the kind comment.

    Mark, I truly hope so. It's been my intent from the beginning to leave a little piece of myself for her. My presence on this old earth will flame out long before she is grown, I'm sure, and I wanted her to know my likes and dislikes, my thoughts and feelings. She has changed me and I want her to understand that more than anything else. I hope this chronicle is around long enough for to read and understand how a little girl took a man's heart and shook it back to life.

    SciFiChick, you're welcome, and thank you. Particles clog my eyes often of late.

  6. Thank you for this. I'm going to give it to my daughter. She's a bit older than your little one, but those questions still crop up from time to time.

  7. I thank God every day that my parents wanted to be the "young, hip" parents. Just reading this, and realizing how close I am to my own parents, leaves me speechless.
    When life takes it's course, not anytime soon with your stubborness, she will have a slightly similar love and support from the hearts you've touched with this blog. She will Never be alone.

  8. took alot of courage to share that moment with us..I thank you. My best friend passed from cancer six years ago and my boys are best pals with her son. They still worry I might get sick like her. I just hug them tight and try to be honest as you were. Gotta go sniffle now..

  9. Who keeps cutting onions in my house? Does everyone have this problem.
    This is what life is all about. No matter how bad a day your having she will brighten it up.

    Thanks for posting.

  10. Stephen, you hold on to that little girl. She is going to remember a lot of your talks with her. And the memories that you leave with her, will be with her, her whole life. And what you say, and do with her, will make her and shape her into the woman she will become.
    You do good work, my friend.

  11. Forgot to add...And make you think.

  12. Sweet sweet child....... You touched my heart.
    My best friends dad was like a dad to me growing up and I remember him telling me that he would live on forever through his children, and every time I looked at them I could see him, he passed away not long after he told me that. Thank you for sharing Lil Bit, she is a precious child and she is most fortunate to have you.

  13. DaddyBear, you're welcome and thanks for the nice comments. Hope you daughter enjoys it.

    BlueEyedBaby, I certainly hope so...and thank you very much for the sweet and kind comment.

    TrueTexan, thanks. They are all hard, but I do it for her. Bless you.

    Rob, she certainly brightens my days. Thank you so much for the nice comment.

    Flier389, thank you very much...Sweet Wife recently stated the same...memories..

    Rob, thanks, again.

    Shar, thanks, it is I fortunate to have her. You always make me smile, Shar...thanks.

  14. That was a tough one! I can recall having that some conversation with my grand daughter years ago. It was not any easier then Her grandmother my wife had just passed away. They start asking those hard questions and it makes us wiegh our lives and actions. It can be really hard but then you see the smile on that little face and it makes all the pain seem so far away. Cherish even the hard questions and hard days for they make the child the adult they will be.

  15. Thanks for making me misty this evening... :)

  16. Stephen, dear friend, can you please tell her that since i met you, not very long ago but time is of no matter, that you have kept every promise that you have made me. every single one.

    Stephen - she is going to do amazing things. my heart soars. thank you!

    your friend,

  17. Got any more napkins. They sure can get to you can't they? Gotta love em, thank you for sharing. T

  18. justcook, sorry to hear of the loss of your wife. I do cherish these small moments with her, it's just hard at times. Thank you.

    PISSED, big tough guys like you don't get misty - you've a bug in your eye....but thanks.

    kymber, I'd tell her but she's the one that makes me toe the line on issues like promises kept. Thank you, sweet lady.

    tea4tooO, yes dear, they can sure get to us. Thanks for the nice comment.

    Borepatch, so can you...I just express my feelings, my writing isn't much at all I'm afraid. Thank you very much.

  19. Walter Zoomie, thank you very much...and come back and hang around.