I know how much she loves me. I do. She tells me now, all the time, even at her age. I know by how tightly she holds onto to me when I hold her, by how big she smiles when I walk into the room. I know, because I am the first person she looks for, asks for, needs. I KNOW how much she loves me, because I do.
But she never smiles and runs to me like she does her daddy. At the end of the day, when his key turns in the door and he walks in, jacket folded over his arm, briefcase swinging by his side, she almost bursts with happiness. She doesn’t laugh like that with me. She doesn’t run that fast to me.
She loves me, but she doesn’t ever miss me. I’m never gone.
I was gone this evening, for a few hours. When I got home, and my key turned in the door, I heard her. I heard the squeal, the pounding of tiny toddler feet running to the door, to me. I opened the door to the biggest smile I’ve ever seen, the tightest embrace, the best kisses. Her little fingers prodded my face, her head rested on my shoulder, her voice whispered “mama” in my ear. She was bursting with happiness. For me.
She missed me when I was gone. I know how much she loves me.