I’d intended to write a sweet, good-natured post to accompany this picture. I’d intended that post to exude the love I feel for my daughter and the happiness she brings to me each time she smiles. I’d intended to convey, in some small way, just how much joy she brings to our lives each and every day.

And I’d hoped that this post would serve as a pleasant trigger point for these feelings whenever I looked back upon them in my increasingly fast-approaching dotage.

Until . . .

Until she spent this entire day crying. And crying. And crying.

Until her tears filled the rooms of this house as we drowned in the sound of them.

Until her mouth let loose the howls of those bereft of all hope in this life.

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And until her soul was tormented with the very thought that her parents would have a sense of peace and tranquility for the merest hint of a nanosecond on this fine March day.

Not all days are sweet. Not all moments are cherished. And not all daughters or sons are happy every moment of the day.

So as she teethes and squirms and hurts, I’ll set aside my intended words for another day when I’ll better need them.

After all, the future offers many more opportunities to speak to the joy that she brings me.

Today instead offered me opportunities to provide comfort and succor for my littlest child, my baby girl, who sometimes needs to spend the day wrapped up in her daddy’s arms, where maybe she can go to when life seems especially hard, and the nights especially cold, and the struggles of life especially painful.

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Although I cannot stop the ache of her teething gums, I can at least offer her the love of a father who holds her when she sobs, who kisses her when she weeps, and who hands her off her to momma when she poops.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page.

Jeremy R. Summerlin

Jeremy Summerlin is a father of two very real children under the age of four and of three very fabricated offspring that he uses interchangeably for dramatic effect in his stories about fatherhood and parenting. During the day, he is a partner at a South Carolina law firm, representing employees in employment-related legal disputes. During the night, he just wants to sleep through his REM cycles without being startled awake by a child-like demonic presence staring silently at him just inches from his face. He feels strongly that his requests are reasonable. You can find more of Jeremy's writing on his Facebook page, The Summ of All Tears.