I remember it happening for the first time about a week after I was handed a sleeping, peeling, slightly-gray, overcooked baby boy. We were sitting in the bathroom floor and I was massaging lotion into all his nooks and crannies to help shed the peeling skin and he looked in my direction and sighed.
I didn't understand the feeling at first. It was painful in the same way that soaring hopes make you want to reach for grounding material. Painful in a way that makes you believe in God and understand your mother.
The cracking has happened again and again over the years. First steps and big words and new babies and laughter and tears have sent fissures ripping through my heart, endlessly.
But today, watching my Mountain Man walking his daughter into preschool for her very first day, watching her hand hooked first into his back pocket and then into his palm, watching her break down and him scoop her up?
I swear everyone in a ten-mile radius heard the earthquake echoing out of me. The ground surely rumbled and buildings swayed as the little girl in me felt that soaring hope that only little girls and their daddies can understand.
I am a fatherless daughter. It has shaped me. But my daughter is loved in a way that I'll never understand, a way I can't truly appreciate and may even be slightly envious of.
No, not envious. Inspired. I am inspired by the way this man loves this child. I am inspired by the way any man loves his child, but especially this man loving this child who looks and acts so much like me.
She is lovable the way I am lovable. She is amazing the way I am amazing. She is enough the way I am enough.
But it took this man on this day to help me see it.
***This post is part of Bigger Picture Moments.***