It is early. I am sitting in my office under the cover of darkness, sipping coffee, enjoying the silence.
Suddenly I hear the pitter patter of little footsteps on the stairs. She appears from around the corner, her face illuminated by the light of the Christmas tree. Cheeks flushed and silky blond hair tousled from sleep, she squints as she stumbles into my office. The silence is broken.
What are YOU doing up? I inquire.
I couldn’t sleep, she mumbles in her six-year-old voice — still very much a little girl but no longer my baby.
I put out my arms in invitation, and she climbs up on my lap. Her legs dangle over the side of my chair. Her feet almost touch the floor, she can no longer fold herself into my lap.
She rests her face into my neck, the way she always used to do. I am comforted by the softness of her cheek against mine.
We sit like that for a time. I feel her rise and fall against me with each breath. I drink in her sweet little girl scent, savoring her warmth, the smoothness of her skin, her strength, her vitality, her aliveness.
There are no guarantees. But she is here now. Alive. Happy. Innocent.
That is enough because it has to be.