“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
They say a daddy has a weakness for his little girl and a girl’s first love is her daddy.
This stands true in our house – the girls adore their daddy and he melts for them. Their eyes twinkle when he makes up stories featuring them. They charge the door when they hear his keys in the lock. They light up when plays his guitar for them – sometimes prompting singing and dancing and other times a snuggle at his knee.
Recently a special bond emerged with Veronica and Stephen. They are diving into chapter books together. It’s not every night, but many.
They started with the Magic Tree House series and I’d overhear conversations about Jack and Annie.
A few weeks ago, he introduced one of his favorite authors, Roald Dahl. (Dahl wrote classics, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach).
The first book up was The BFG:
Now The BFG vocabulary is popping up and they bust out laughing after saying things like “whizzpopper,” “snozzcumbers,” and “telly telly box.”
I’m liking this daddy-daughter inside language. It’s special.
I recently read of another father-daughter duo that shared a reading promise they called The Streak.
The Streak was prompted by a father’s desire to read at bedtime with his youngest daughter.
“When Jim Brozina’s older daughter, Kathy, was in fourth grade, he was reading Beverly Cleary’s “Dear Mr. Henshaw” to her at bedtime, when she announced she’d had enough. “She said, ‘Dad, that’s it, I’ll take over from here,’ ” Mr. Brozina recalled. “I was, ‘Oh no.’ I didn’t want to stop. We really never got back to reading together after that.”
He didn’t want a repeat with his youngest, so he proposed The Streak (You can read the entire story here). He wanted to see if they could read together for 100 straight bedtimes without missing a night.
When The Streak reached 100, his daughter suggested they go for 1000 nights. The Streak lasted 3,218 nights, until Kirsten’s first day of college.
It’s a tall order, but isn’t that cool?
The daughter shared the immeasurable depth of the nightly read aloud. She said, “The Streak was stability when everything else was unstable. It was something I knew would always be there.”
She continued, “People kept leaving me, but with The Streak, I knew that nothing would come before The Streak. In high school, I had friends who never talked to their parents. It never occurred to me not to. If someone takes care of you, you want to be with them.”
Her words highlight the value of carving out quality time. It is my hope that by sharing fun experiences now, we’re growing roots and building life-long lines of communication.
We do spend a lot of time together as a foursome. But it’s equally fun, and special, to pair off and hang out with one girl on a “date.”
And the girls love when they get to go on a date with daddy.
Last weekend, Stephen surprised Veronica with an early Christmas present – tickets to see The BFG at the Apollo Theater in Chicago.
She knew they had a date, but no idea what it entailed.
Stella and I dropped them off in front of the theater before setting off on our alone time.
Stephen said when they entered there was a huge banner announcing The BFG and he shared V’s surprise:
V: BFG?? Really? We’re going to see The BFG.
V: So cool!!
Veronica was all smiles when we picked them up a couple hours later. She poured the details – she got the BFG’s autograph – and her excitement was contagious.
It was gold.
Ciao for now.