The Gift

My step was light as I rounded the corner to our frequent after-work restaurant. My two favorite people were meeting me for dinner and I expected them to be waiting for me when I arrived. As I pushed the door open, a string of bells tinked against the glass announcing my entrance. As did the little girl who ran past every table with arms wide open, gleefully crying, "Mommy!"

Distance makes the heart grow fonder and our daily, evening reunions bring much joy to me. After a day apart I love to see her round face and bright eyes. I love to feel her soft, chubby hands in mine and to hear the sound of her little voice recounting her day, "I eat hot dog. I ride bike. I sing Old MacDonald." As we ease into our version of a conversation, I'm amazed that only three years ago today I saw that face, felt those hands and heard that sweet voice for the first time.

The night of her birth my mom says I looked like a deer in headlights. I remember looking at Caroline curled up in my arms, and then looking quizzically at my mom, in disbelief that this baby was mine (and that she'd just come out of my vagina). During the quiet hours of the evening when the lights were all off and the only sound was the beating of our hearts chest-to-chest, I counted her fingers and toes and counted my blessings. I knew I had been given the very best gift.

Today we count to ten and work on counting our way up to twenty and I still count my blessings. I have indeed been given the very best gift and it is a gift that keeps on giving.

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