Fat chance. Before long, I heard the telltale pitter-patter of a certain six-year-old boy. Resplendent in his one-piece jammies and bright yellow slippers, he popped his smiling head into the bathroom as I got ready to shave. He walked over to me and hugged me in that all-you-can-squeeze way that only a child seems to be willing to muster. “Big hug, Daddy,” he said in that sweet, sleepy little voice of his. It didn’t seem to matter that it was well over an hour before he usually wakes up. It didn’t bother him that the sky outside was dark, and that we were the only two people awake in the house. He was about to get to watch his daddy shave, and he was happy.
As I carefully worked the razor around my face, he sat beside me and played 20 questions:
- How does shaving work? Why do you have to do it all the time?
- How old will I be when I start to shave? Let’s count how many years, OK Dad?
- Why does your hair always make a mess in the sink?
- Is your face smooth yet? Can I feel?
- Do you like to shave?
But this morning’s ritual was much different. I enjoyed having a genuinely likable little person keep me company. I enjoyed hearing his voice. I enjoyed sharing a moment that I wish didn’t have to be so fleeting. I enjoyed him. I enjoyed us being…us.
I finished shaving and let him feel my face. Yup, it was smooth. Yes, Daddy was ready to go to Toronto and have a good day. My wife whispered to me as I finished getting ready how much she loved hearing us. Sometimes, life really is that good.
I write this on the train as it works its way through the wintry hinterland of southern Ontario. I’m coming back home after an eventful day. The big interview went really well. Then the phone rang. Twice. I spoke to the Associated Press. I did a live television interview in-studio. Different venues, different commentary on different, fast-breaking subjects, and I fought my way through a blizzard to make it happen.
If you ever saw the scene in Jerry Maguire where the title character says they had a “very big day,” my day today reminded me of that. On a professional level, it was an eventful day that convinced me more than ever that this crazy work/media life of mine is starting to pay serious dividends. That’s all well and good, but what will stick in my mind far longer is the sleepy, sweet voice of my son as we softly chatted in the dim, pre-dawn light. Because everything that came after that magic moment with him happened because he was there with me at the very start, and in spirit for every moment thereafter.
He’s asleep now, along with his older brother and sister, so I’ll have to content myself with quick kisses on their heads when I finally get home. But I’ll be up early tomorrow, and maybe I’ll be lucky enough to have some help and some company.
Your turn: A little moment that mattered. Please discuss.