For Maria, A Moment of Presence

It was pouring outside, and my daughter was trying to convince me how much she hated a children's museum 4 hours' drive away.

"Cosi? You mean the museum in Columbus?"  I said between bites of Subway sandwich.  Oooh, with mayonnaise.  My youngest is allergic to eggs, so mayo was a delicacy.

"YEAH," she exploded.  I was thankful we were the only customers; Maria's like a combination of my passion and her mom's expressiveness.  In comparison, a nitromethane Funny Car mouses about.

"I mean, really, I hate the place.  There was this time..." Oh, here come the hands gesticulating... "...when mommy was behind the door in the dark room with the lasers and I couldn't get to her and..."

and then, my daughter, time stopped, and Daddy looked at you.  I mean, really looked.  Hack writers would say "drank you in."

There's a moment in Forrest Gump when Jenny shows Forrest his son for the first time, tells him that the little kid watching TV is his, and Forrest, overwhelmed, just says, "He's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."  This was kind of like that.

It was like I arrived from an alternate universe and realized you were mine, that your oh-so-expressive beautiful eyes and freckles were of my own flesh and blood, in a new generation.  It was like 22 year old me, full of entitlement, self-confidence, and questing for purpose plopped into 35 year old me and took a peek.

At that moment, I appreciated the day for what it was: A gift.  This moment, sharing a meal with my daughter.  This second, seeing her personality, her passion, her intelligence in the raw.  "No filter" the Instagrammers tag it;  this was life in HD.

How low had I been just yesterday morning?  Now here was my child, and it was Fricking Great.

How big she is!  And her eyes were black oceans ringed in grey-blue irises.   Baby teeth absented, and others twisting in disharmony...I'd be paying to straighten them soon enough.   Forehead so like her mother's, and a smirk....

She was smirking, yes very much like her mother.  She'd stopped talking.  She cocked her head and regarded me much like I was regarding her.

"Daaaad...what?"

"Nothing dear.  Just looking at you."

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