"Come snuggle with Daddy," I said, patting the sofa cushion next to me. "You know you love me."
This was said, in the voice that I used for my toddler daughter, last night, to my now 15-year-old. In response, she looked at me, head tilted to one side, right eyebrow raised, and a look on her face that said, "Okay, Dad, you've lost it."
In our newly refurnished family room, we have an oversized sofa and a leather IKEA Poang chair. The chair is mine: I claimed it when everything was moved into place. It's next to a window, where I can rest my beer glass and the remote control. DW and my girls spread themselves out across the sofa.
Only, last night, I wanted a change of venue, and so I sat on the sofa, on the end furthest from the TV. It was my old spot on the old sofa.
DW sat in my chair, and DD15 looked at the new arrangement, wondering where she was going to sit. I was in the spot that she usually claimed. I saw that she wanted to sit down, and I welcomed her over. "Snuggle wi' your da!"
She moved to the opposite end, her back to me.
"You know you love your dad," I reminded her.
I had the proof.
I keep all of the notes that my kids have left for me over the years, and it was only last week that I revisited one of my favourites. I moved it onto my phone, to keep it where I can look back, lovingly, on it.
I showed her the photo, and her face lit up. She remembered writing it, she said. It was written in 2010.
Ten minutes later, she had shifted her position on the sofa. She was snuggled next to me, her head resting, lovingly, on my shoulder.
Yup, I'm loved.