"Daddy, I have tears."
These are the first words I heard this morning. She was sitting up in her bed when I walked in, with a little tear in her eye and a faraway look on her face.
I knelt in front of her, gave her a hug, and asked her why she was crying. No words, she just squeezed back.
These are the times I wish she could express herself more clearly. I know she wants to, I know she has the vocabulary to try, I just don't know how to help her get the words out.
So, I hold her for a while. I ask questions gently, trying to simplify things to make it easier.
"Did you have a bad dream?" (She shakes her head).
"Do you have owies?" (Shakes head).
"Do you just need Daddy hugs?" (Nods).
We hug for a little while longer, me kneeling on the floor and her on her bed, as I feel her body relax. I feel a shift in her energy, like a generator turning on inside her, and she starts babbling again.
All thought of whatever made her upset is gone from her face.
I study her for a time to see if she is hiding her pain from me or if it is truly forgotten. Honestly, I just can't tell. She has buried it too well, hidden it too deeply.
It hurts that I can't talk about these things with her. I want so much to be able to help her, support her, guide her through the emotions she is discovering. I know the hugs and the fact that I am always there for her makes it better, but I could do so much more.
I want to do so much more.
I breathe, knowing that she and I have a long road together with many more emotional moments to come. She knows I will always be there, kneeling in front of her, arms open for a hug.