A friend of mine posted a positive message on her social media feed asking for her friends to tell her something nice that’s happened to you in the last few weeks or so. She does this from time and time and I love reading the responses. Everything from big, huge milestones to the smallest of things. And, if you have been a reader of mine, you know I love those small moments. Those little meaningless moments that actually are not meaningless at all. I love reading “someone smiled at me at a red light” ….
So naturally I didn’t pick a big moment like meeting new family in Santa Barbara, or a big job change I just went through. I picked “3 nights in a row I got to watch my Kiley fall asleep on the couch while we watched tv.”
We have some big things coming in less than a week when my oldest daughter moves into college. There’s a ton of emotion there. We are a tribe of 4 with my wife, my daughters and me. And yesterday the three of us that will be left home after she leaves had a car ride filled with tears. Finally, my youngest let some of them out and it was super super needed. It broke up a ton of tension and let us all just cry and laugh and go through a nice roller coaster of emotions together.
As lots of you know, it’s the biggest thing in the world when a child goes to college to the people in it. If you have done it, you also know that it probably doesn’t even end up being that big of a thing. They come home lots, you visit lots and while it changes the dynamic, I’m sure, you all eventually just get used to it. But, when you are in it, like my family is now it feels a bit like the world is ending. I feel a bit like Jessie Spano when she was addicted to caffeine pills on Saved by The Bell, I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so…soo scared.
We celebrated my brother’s birthday the other night and had a great time with everyone. It was great to spend some time with all of them. It was a nice distraction for a few hours to watch my cousins play with pretend babies and hear my favorite little human tell me a thousand times what sounds a dinosaur makes. But I’d be lying if my thoughts were all there. My world is completely consumed with move in day for my daughter. There is a checklist of a million things left to buy or do together still. And, as my youngest daughter said when she was losing it a bit “I just feel there isn’t enough time” … I could write a million words about the beauty of raising girls and growing up with them. We know, Dads aren’t born. Moms are, they love you before they have ever met you. They have dreamed about you for so long. But, Dads, we grow, or at least I did, right along with you. We discover what love really is, and who we are through our kids a bit. I’m nowhere near the person I thought I’d be, but in the best ways possible. I’d never be able to truly thank my girls for saving me.
After my brother’s party we ended up all home for the night and we just melted on the couch. We didn’t really speak that much. I think we didn’t really know what to say. It’s the happiest and saddest I’ve ever been. And I get just how lucky that makes me. We put on Friends on the tv, and I watched as they all, one by one, fell asleep with each other. And I just sat there. I was frozen in time. I couldn’t or didn’t want to move for one second. There’s something I can’t really describe about watching my wife and kids fight to keep their eyes open and then losing the battle.
I love our conversations, I love our trips, I love our inside jokes, I love lots of things we share, but selfishly for me, my heart is never fuller than when my girls are sleeping on the couch. They are home, we are home. This little world with just the four of us. The one no one but us gets to be a part of. I never have been a good sleeper; always afraid I’m missing something. Always the last to sleep and the first one awake. I’ve always hated it. I’d cut my left arm off to get 8 hours of sleep I would tell anyone who would listen. But then I get nights like tonight. It’s like, God (whichever you choose) who is up there making all this happen is telling me “It’s all worth it”. All those nights with zero sleep will make it so you can stay up till 2:30 am on the Saturday before your little girl is off to find out what the world is made of, and just fall in love just a little more listening to them bounce in and out of their dreams.
It was a perfect night. I shared it with no one. I can write about a random couch night in a blog or two. I can paint a perfect picture with my words to explain what nights like that are to me, but trust me, it’s way way more than these words you are reading now. It’s my world, all in one room. It’s my little reminder that, It’s all worth it. The luckiest man who there ever was….
Home is not a place, it’s people… it’s always been people.