I had a conversation with Cole yesterday on the way home from school, one I don't have with him as often as I feel I should. It's been about a year and it was weighing on my mind, so as we're leaving the school parking lot I initiated it.
Me: I want to ask you something..
Cole: (cautiously) ...um, okay.
Me: Well, I'm just curious about something is all and I want your opinion on it.
Cole: Sure, ask me.
Me: Here's the thing - do you think I do a good job of taking care of you and your sister?
Cole: (almost offended that I'm asking this question) Uh, DUH, you do a great job - why are you even asking me this?
Me: Because I think it is important that you think I do my best with you two.
Cole: Well, you do.
Me: Do you think there are things I can do better or things that you need me to do that I don't do already?
Me: Well don't answer so quickly, give it some thought.
Cole: But there's nothing I can think of.
Me: I just want to make sure I'm doing the best I can because if I'm not then I need to work on it, you know what I mean?
Cole: I think so.
Me: I'm just scared sometimes that when I get upset with you about something that you might need me to listen more than I do, because I'm upset. You know how hard it is for you to really listen to someone else when you're angry and how we always try to work on that so you can be a better listener?
Cole: Yeah, so you just want to make sure I understand you is what you're saying.
Me: Yes, and I want you to feel like you can talk to me about anything you want to talk to me about, that you know I'm always on your side, and that I love you no matter what you do.
Cole: I do know that already.
Me: So you know that if you do something that makes me unhappy or disappointed that I still love you and that I'm not always going to feel like that, right?
Cole: You usually do, so yeah. I mean, you always make sure to tell me you love me after we have to have a talk like that.
Me: Do you think I tell you I love you enough and give you enough hugs?
Sometimes I just have to stop them from whatever they're doing just to smile at them, scoop them up in my arms and hug them, give them kisses, and tell them how unbelievably beautiful they are. They break my heart, they are just so beautiful. I love them as if they were my own and do everything I can so make sure they know that. When I was a little boy I was walking through the house one day and told my Mama that I loved her very much for no reason at all. She stopped me and her eyes welled up with tears as she pulled me up into her lap and said "You know what baby? I love you too. I wasn't sure until you just said that and I looked at your little face, but I'm pretty sure you are the most beautiful thing I've ever seen." If I can make these babies feel as precious and perfect as that exchange made me feel, then I know I'm doing my job.
Today is a great day. The best days are always the ones that remind you how lucky and loved you are.