Last night, my daughter made me cry.  She read me a book.  I was having an evening when I felt a little off.  Sad isn’t the word, but there was something in me that wasn’t settled.  When I work through moments like that, I feel a difference and I know it shows. 

            She asked to read me a book.  I wasn’t busy, but my pride wanted to say I was, but I know I don’t have a lot of moments like this left, and I wanted to be there for her and to live a small experience that would mean something to each of us.  I sat on a white wicker stool as she climbed into her loft bed.  She said, “You won’t be able to see it until I start reading.”

            I answered.  “That’s alright.  I can just listen.”  I sat with my head down, and then she raised me up. 

            “What Do You Do With an Idea?”

            It was a book I bought for Matthew and Audrey years ago.  I’m not the best with presents.  Books and stories are about the only gifts I ever choose myself.  They’re what hit me.  It was a story that made my heart swell when I read it in the store the day I brought it home.  It’s one that warmed me every time I read it to young minds at bedtimes.   I love it as much for how it speaks to me as for how I hope it touches others. 

            A moment before, I sat with my head down, wanting to listen but with mind disengaged. She brought me back.  I stood to see the pages, the colors and the pictures, to watch my daughter as she sat upright in her bed reading to me a story as I had done for her so many times in younger years.  Life cycles around, and it’s a blessing to receive the gifts and small acts we gave away returned to us in a moment when these small gifts are precisely what we need. 

            I almost said no to listening to her read.  It would have been selfish and wrong, and I would have missed the blessing and assurance that was waiting for me, all in the love and simple act of my little girl.  The story spoke straight to what I was thinking, feeling; and when it was through, the story and my daughter left me in grateful tears. 

            “Thank you Audrey,” I shared.  “You always know how to make me feel special.  You are a wonderful daughter.  Thank you for loving me…Thank you.”

            We hugged good night.  The moment ended, but the peace she gave to me remained. 

            I put her brothers to bed, and after read a little while longer.  I brought the book she chose with me to my reading chair.  I read it all again, and when it finished once more, before turning into bed, I went into her room.  She was reading in the dark, still reading…my little girl. 

            “I love you,” I told her one more time.  “Thank you for reading to me.  You made me feel very special.  I just wanted you to know.”

            She laughed quietly and I saw her smile shined in the soft night-light glow of her room.  “Love you Dad,” she answered back.  I departed from her room, leaving by daughter to her book and ideas.

            I went to bed.  I prayed, and before I slipped to sleep, I thought of the ending one more time.    

            “And then, I realized what you do with an idea…You change the world.” 

            It happens every day.

*The book referenced in this story is “What Do You Do with an Idea?” by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom. It is a beautiful story for anyone.

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