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People notice the most odd things, random sublime moments that escape the ones caught in the amber of the scene.  As I sat at a table in the coffee shop section of our church yesterday morning with my daughter, I glanced to my left as a friend of mine was focusing a camera on us, trying to sneak the picture from behind the stone chimney a few feet away.  My friend had one of those admiring looks on her face, a satisfied smile plastered on.  She waved as she put the camera back in her purse and left.  I thought nothing of it, turned my attention back to my chatty daughter.

Alyssa had been just that all morning with me — chatty — the kind of chatty that makes me glow, basking in the energy of her attention, a rare treat that makes the whole dad thing worth it all.  Sunday mornings have become ours, a result of Alyssa and I being the early risers of the family.  A few weeks ago, she suggested she join me in my ritual of coffee before church, giving up an extra hour of well earned sleep so she could share that time with me.

My daughter is a pure gift to me.  I use the word ‘pure’ intentionally, a word that may seem out of place when describing a gift, but it really is the best description.  Her time is given to me like a flawless diamond, a treasure with infinite value.  What prompted my friend to want to take that picture of me with my daughter was the relaxed, focused, blissful smile I had on my face as I listened to my daughter enthusiastically tell me about the day she had with her friends the day before, and school, a college, and her best friend Kate, and marching band, and her boyfriend Alex, and and and…. as if she will never get the chance to tell me anything again.

My friend confessed to me on FB yesterday:

“I know you caught me snapping a picture of you this morning. 😉  You were so wrapped up in listening to your daughter! The smile on your face was priceless!!!”

I needed that.  She was right and the realization of what she told me just made the moment even more sweet.  If I didn’t have my daughter, I honest to goodness do not know what my life would be like.  She is my gift, a true blessing that keeps me grounded.  I doubt she knows how much I need her.

Then there is my 14 year old boy.  He is so much a teenage boy, but I’m pretty sure he goes beyond that.  I can’t try hard enough to be his father.  There are times where I don’t feel like I want to be.  His mother, my wife, doesn’t understand that, and she just makes things worse by… eeehhhhhh… it’s not worth saying.  Let’s just say that there are two who make me want to give up, almost daily.

Then there is my daughter.