Joy in Padded Feet

Most mornings, I wake up before Sophie. I shower (if I’m lucky), make tea, check email, or read until, sometime between 6:30 and 7 am, Sophie’s door will open and she will pad out in her pink footsie pajamas, clutching blankie to her chest, seeking me out for the first hug of the day. Nothing can be said until the first hug of the day.

Every morning, I am thwacked anew with the beauty of my daughter: her tangled blonde hair, just-waking-up blue eyes,  wide-open face, and pink-fleece-covered feet, trustingly homing in on me wherever I am in the house. Every morning, I simply kneel down and open my arms. She walks right in for a full-body hug, lifting her off the feet. Then we say “Good morning” and start our day.

The day may go downhill from there, of course. Lately, Sophie likes to tell me that I am poop, and that I shouldn’t say words like “yes” and “no.” We’re working on respectful communication. I worry, sometimes, when I hear myself sounding fakely cheerful. “Wow, you wiped your own butt! Good job!” I exclaim, like a moron, before wondering who I’ve become. But nothing feels fake, first thing in the morning. Always, every morning, I simply cannot restrain myself from flinging out my arms for Sophie’s sleepy, trusting hug.

We’re working on napping, too, right now, but first thing in the morning, Sophie is nicely rested. In the morning, when I haven’t seen Sophie for the last few hours (even her occasional night-time wakings happen in the dark), that first sight of her is eternally thrilling. Yesterday, driving to work, I happened to see a huge rainbow arcing over the highway, and I thought, “That’s beautiful, but it’s nothing compared to Sophie in her footsie-pajamas, walking into my open arms.” Okay, I know, this is a sappy post about rainbows and toddler-feet, but it’s what I’m thinking right now: how can something so mundane be so consistently blissful.

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