On some sunny days, the sun hits my face and I feel so warm. Buoyant. I think of everyone I love and everyone who loves me. A splendid dizziness. A natural rush. I let it consume me. I live in that moment. My heart feels so full. Life is wonderful.
On some sunny days, I don’t feel the sun at all. She should be here. Here with us. Her mom, her brother, and me – her dad. I’m her dad. Her room should still be decorated. Her clothes shouldn’t be stored away in a box beneath holiday ornaments. Her laugh should be ringing throughout our home. Her pictures shouldn’t make me cry. She should be getting ready for kindergarten. She shouldn’t be a lifeless memory.
I want to hold her. I want to kiss her. I want to braid her hair. I want to paint her nails. I want her to paint my nails. I want to make her laugh. I want to sing her favorite songs. I want to soothe her when she’s scared. I want to pick her up when she falls. I want her to know I’ll always love her. I want to read her favorite books. I want to touch her cheeks. I want to see her smile. I want to look into her eyes. I want to be her favorite guy. I want to let her stay up late. I want to bring her to the park. I want to give her colorful flowers. I want her to fall asleep in my arms. I want her to wake up in my arms. I want to see her with her brother. I want to see her with her mother. I want to put her on my shoulders. I want her to know how much I love her.
I want to be her dad. I know I am her dad. I want to be her dad, here. I hate that she’s not here. I talk to her every day, but I want her to respond. “I love you, Lila.” I want to hear her say “I love you, dad.”