That twinkle in your eye. It’s always been my favorite.

It was the thing I looked to for approval, humor, and reassurance as a daddy’s little girl.

It sparkled this way and that as you told us kids a story or schemed up some crazy adventure to take us on. It shone while we tossed handmade pizzas in the kitchen or roasted marshmallows around a cozy fire. It proved your sincerity when you told me you loved and believed in me, no matter what.

It was a constant of my younger years, a beacon of light I could always return to—one that still feels like home even now that I’m grown.

Today, as I sat watching you give my babies “pony rides” across the living room floor, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by the emotion and happiness pouring into my heart.

Because Dad, the twinkle in your eyes that lit up my childhood grew even brighter the day you became a grandpa.

I’ll never forget the moment I extended my sweet little seven-pound bundle your way. You pulled him close, and I watched you fall in love right then and there. You stared down at him, absolutely mesmerized by his presence. You kissed his forehead over and over again, and more than once you told me you just couldn’t believe your little girl was now a mommy.

As he grew, so did your love.

I smiled on as I watched you as a grandpa creating new traditions with your grandson and bringing back some of the old ones we used to share.

I laughed when you returned home from the store with overflowing bags and an excited grin on your face as you unloaded the goodies you had picked out with him in mind.

I treasured the moments when you pulled him into your lap for a bedtime story and he sank into the comfort of your arms, rubbing his eyes sleepily.

I saw it all, and I soaked in every second.

Watching you transition into grandfatherhood was a kind of magic that is hard for me to put into words.

As one grandbaby became two—then three, then four—your love grew brighter and brighter. Never do I see you more alive than when you’re interacting with the precious little people who make your world go ‘round.

Whether you’re flying kites or painting pictures or telling jokes, it fills my soul to see you as a grandpa.

And when I hear you call my baby girl “Sugar” in the same way you’ve always called me . . . I come undone.

The thing is, Dad, as blessed as I feel to have you as a father, the even bigger blessing has been to witness you become Grandy.

And that twinkle in your eyes—the one that has brightened my world for the last 28 years . . . now I get to sit back and watch in wonder as it lights up my kids’ lives, too.

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Casey Huff

Casey is a middle school teacher turned stay-at-home-mama to three littles. It's her mission as a writer to shine light on the beauty and chaos of life through the lenses of motherhood, marriage, and mental health. To read more, go hang out with Casey at: Facebook: Bouncing Forward Instagram: @bouncing_forward