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.
Justice: A Novella by Scott Hughes (Fiction)
Achieve Your Dreams by Scott Hughes (Non-Fiction)
Read both, and let me know which you like better, my fiction or non-fiction writing!
Absolutely beautiful. Your kids are really lucky to have a dad like you. I’m sure your daughter probably knows how much you love waking up with her too! That’s probably why she keeps coming back and if you keep on doing what you’re doing, the ways both your son and daughter show you how they love you may change. But one thing if for sure. You will always have a strong bond and they should always be proud to say you are their dad.
Oh, the wonderful threenagers. Gotta love them.
Let me know how the love packaging goes, because I could use some of that.
This is a splendid essay that I’m sure speaks for all parents. My children range now from 19 to 40, and I’ve learned to end each of our phone conversations with “love you.” Since I never know when will be the last time. I miss having the little ones here with me, but each grown child still has inside him or her the little one he or she was, and needs love just as much.
Nice piece, Scott. Being a parent can be very rewarding. And, yes, like you say, it doesn’t last, so enjoy it while they’re young!
I really enjoy reading your writing. You have an amazing way of getting your point across with a positive light. I also have a three year old, almost 4. Love the cuddles and loves she gives me. My favorite part of young children is how easily they forgive and move on. I think if adults were more like that there would be a lot less hate in this world.
A touching post. You write well, and sounds like a great dad. I feel the same about my kids and can relate. My youngest son is now 9 years old, but I still love to cuddle him and he enjoys it as well.
Kimberly, thank you for your kind words. I try to limit the time she spends in my bed, only because I’m worried she might pee in it lol!
Monkey Pants, “threeangers” I love it!
Victoria, thank you so much for your kind words. You seem like a great Mom!
Jenny, thank you for the compliment. You are so right about how kids can forgive. I think there is a lot we can learn from kids.
Gali, thank you. That means a lot coming from an avid reader and literary critic. 🙂
Okay, so, the other day, I image-googled myself, and a couple of the pictures from this post came up. So, you and your daughter are ME, or something?
A. Lynn Powers, in fairness I saw a picture of the pope included in the results when I just tested it by doing an image search for your name.
LOL what, really?? I didn’t see the Pope! I did see Donald Trump, though… I’d much rather neither of those be included, but you and your daughter are welcome to stay. 😀
And why was I “Monkey Pants” before? Was I sleep-writing? Oh dear…
You are most welcome, and thank you. 🙂
There are so many things we should be grateful for, but sometimes we tend to ignore them. We usually focus on things we don’t have. Just like you, I know how lucky I am for having my children and for being with my children. I know not everybody can say that about themselves. Either they are not with their kids or they can not be parents at all. You sound like a wonderful dad and your kids are just as lucky to have you. Stay wonderful and good luck. You may need it when your kids are in puberty stage 😀
This is a very touching post.
It reminds me of why I had children. Sure, my husband and I wanted them. But there’s more to it. I can do only so much to make this world a better place. It’s my job as a parent to bring up my sons to continue to try to make the world a better place.
My younger son stopped breathing when he was an infant. I can tell you that there’s nothing more terrifying than holding your child in your arms, trying to get him breathing again, while he’s fighting for his life. It’s a feeling I will never forget. I’d never been so scared in my life. We almost lost him to RSV. It still brings me to tears when I think about it. He is now 12 years old, strong and healthy, and a blessing to us.
Both of my sons are blessings. I want just three things for them. I want them to be happy, compassionate, and be better than me.
You love that little girl with all of your heart, Scott. As long as she knows that you love her, you will always be her daddy and that’s a title a lot of men don’t get these days. It’s such an honor.
*Just for the record, I call my father by his first name. 😉
kimmyschemy06, thank you for your comment and kind words. 🙂 You are very right; it’s good to be grateful.
Kristi, thank you for your comment. I am so glad your son made it through that okay. You seem like a great mom.
Scott, Great post. You captured my feelings for my son — though he he now a sophomore and far from his snuggle days. I see into him and know that the snuggle is in there somewhere. This is where atheism goes off the rails for me. They completely miss out on gratitude; who do I thank for this kind of love? God? Why not? The argument from gratitude…developing…
Wait till you have grandchildren. My granddaughter is 6 and one of my favorite things was when she would wake up from a nap, come out to me laying on the couch, crawl up and lay down on my chest and fall back to sleep.
This is such a beautiful blog post that shows the love a father has for his little girl. You truly have a way with words because reading this post melted my heart. Your kids are so very lucky to have you as their father.
My dad always welcomed cuddles growing up, too. He was (and is) always the one I can count on being there for me, even if I thought I was being silly…and well, at almost 30, I still call him ‘daddy’! 🙂
Scott, thank you for sharing! I enjoyed reading this again, and I especially love the pictures you included. You seem like an amazing father. I wish all kids could be so lucky. You should be very proud of yourself…your kids will not only grow up knowing they have a father who loves them, but they will grow up knowing how to spread love and kindness to others because of what you have taught and are teaching them each day! Great job!
Scott, when you read Kids Kids Kids, you can feel the love we had from the 100 extras. You have 2 and gave your feelings to share. Multiply that by 100 and know why I wrote my book! Good job.
Awe. Lovely. I really enjoyed this. I was truly inspired to be a better man. Thanks.
Scott, I still have a few posts from my book of the day. Your network reaches many! I hope some readers will become foster parents or a Guardian ad Litem to speak on behalf of children. The children are out there. Speak up parents and Guardians…
Cherish her while she wants to snuggle you. I have five children, all whom are teenagers, except for my oldest. My oldest will be 21 in December. They start get private at that age and then it is time to respect their space. However, I still get a hug and kiss on the cheek. This is a very heartwarming piece.
Very beautiful. If only we could all capture and hold onto those times with our kids, they are so precious.
Hi. I am moved by this post. I hate to live but again when I see such posts as this I feel it from the deepest of my heart to grasp the fullest of life, to read hardest, to work the hardest and to achieve the best especially for my country and continent not forgetting my only God-given World. The world is full of uncaring people but shortest of the kind-hearted ones.
This is a powerful message. Indeed, we have enough food and resources to feed, cloth, and meaningfully change the lives of people in our society. I envisage a world where every child gets enough to eat, and goes to school. Unfortunately, many families are hurting, there are endemic diseases, the environment is contaminated, and there is no peace. Food insecurity, street families and malnutrition are common place, and there is a lot of injustices. How i wish your powerful message can be translated to actual human manifestation and undertaking for the benefit of our society. I wish i had the resources to start a nutrition project (fundraiser) which can help children in my community and prevent the from suffering.
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