When I’m Holding My Daughter
by Scott Hughes, author of the short book Achieve Your Dreams
My daughter just turned 3 last month. I swear she’s just the cutest thing ever. Pretty much every morning she comes in—apparently after patiently waiting for the sun to just barely start rising—and she says, “Daddy, I want snuggle you.” Yes, she leaves out the word ‘to’. Then she gets in my bed, and she cuddles up to me, and it makes her so happy.
I doubt she realizes how much I love it too.
I know it won’t last. She’s my youngest and my last. I realize she won’t be coming home from college at 20-years-old to snuggle.
I just wish I could pack all my love up in a huge bag for her that she could keep with her for her whole life, so she could always feel the way we feel now when we snuggle—my beautiful 3-year-old daughter and I—in the morning.
When I hold her, I think about things. She teaches me things.
When I hold my my daughter, I realize how alone so many people in the world must feel. I realize how much people need that kind of love and how rarely anyone gets it.
When I hold my daughter, I look back on my life. I wish I was a better friend. I wish I was a better partner. I wish I had never ever passed up the opportunity to try to sympathize with someone, to help someone, to hug someone, to tell someone everything will be alright, and I’m here for you.
When I hold my daughter, I want to cry. I want to kiss her forehead so hard that it makes the world a better place, and that it makes me a better man.
When we get out of bed, I try to be a great father to my kids. I try to bring that love to the world. I try to be the best role model they can have, a father they can be proud of.
Our world has so much awfulness in it. We have more than enough food and resources to feed, clothe, and house everyone, yet so many go without. Tens of thousands of children starve to death every day—every day! Millions of non-violent people rot in prison in a broken system, while millions of other people suffer violent crime and war—terror and poverty.
That awfulness is not caused by some small group of mean-spirited people in some room somewhere. It is not caused by some magical evil demons floating around.
It’s caused by imperfect people like you and me. Not some of us but all of us. By our negligence. By our short-sightedness. By destructive expressions of our mutual pains and fears.
The world can be a tough place. But all human action is either love or a call for love.
For most of us finding some sense of security and peace is not as simple as being a three-year-old climbing in bed with Daddy.
Yet, when I hold my daughter, when I brush her hair back, when I kiss her forehead, when I tell her that she is the most beautiful, prettiest girl in the whole world, I can’t help but wish I could package up that love and ship it all over the world, so my daughter can grow up in a world where she won’t witness all the hurting, all the loneliness, all the callousness and all the human disregard we give to each other.
If I was a better man, there’s a lot of things I would have done differently. I would have done much more to make this world a little less dark. I’m not perfect, though. Very far from it actually. But every morning I wake up holding my daughter I am given the motivation—the gift—to be better.
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