A Note for my daughter, Tatum

Dear Tatum,

If ever I were to pass and did not get the chance to share our stories, there are some things I would like you to know.

You are 6 and I am 38 as I write this and I’m hoping we both live for many many more decades.

But you never know.  Life can be unpredictable.  That’s why we all need to be grateful for each moment that we have.

So, in the event that I leave you at a way too early age, these words are for you.

Our favorite game to play is called Count to 10.  I go in my room and count to 10 while you go and hide in your bedroom.  I come in and find an animal to talk with and ask, “have you seen Tatum”?  The first animal always tells me that you are in Reece’s room.  I ask the animal to stay put, not to move an inch, while I find you.  I search Reece’s room and of course, you are not there.

When I come back to the room the animal has moved to a different spot.  I get mad and say they are going to be in trouble, then I grab a second animal and try to find you again.

This goes on for a few times.  The animals tell me you are in my room, the laundry room, the bathroom, sometimes even downstairs.  Finally I realize that the animals all have the same voice and I start to ask them questions.  One of them or sometimes all of them will show me where you are hiding by pointing in your direction.  I finally find you and tickle you and carry you to the tub.  That’s our pre-bathtime game.

We also love playing a game called Pretend I need to take a Nap.  This is one where you crawl under the covers and I pretend to not know where you are.  I yawn and say ” I could really use a nap, I think I’ll lay down before putting Tatum to bed.”  I lay down on the bed, feel something that should be as soft as a pillow but feels hard like a body, and start to tickle feet and tummies.  I always then say, “hey, this isn’t a pillow, this is a Tatum!!!”

We love that game.

You also love playing in the bath.  You always ask if you can play in the bath while I’m getting your clothes ready.

 

tatum-and-me-reading

 

I always say yes.  Another thing you love to do, especially when Mommy isn’t home….ssshhhh……, is come downstairs after I put you to bed.  Sometimes I will put on movies like Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back when you come down.  You even like documentaries.  Actually, you really like documentaries.  Especially when they include animals.

Without question, our most favorite time together is when you go to bed.  Almost every night we ask a series of questions.

What are you grateful for?

What are you proud of that you did today?

Are you sad about anything?

What are you happy about?

I record it on my watch and then we listen to it.  You crack up!  You’re a funny little girl.  A handful at times. But still a funny little girl.  It’s impossible for me to stay mad at you.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot.  Just before bed.  Every single night.  Just as I am walking out of your room, you ask me the following questions.

“Daddy, what if I have to use the bathroom?”  Then use the bathroom I reply.

“Daddy, what if I have to ask you a question?”  Then ask I question.

“Daddy, what if I have to do both?”  Then do both.

“Daddy, what if I need to make a statement?”  Then make a statement.

As I’m walking out the door, “Good night Tatum, I love you.”  I love you too, dad, you reply.  It’s the best part of my day.

We have a lot of fun together.  The idea of being without you or you being without me makes me incredibly sad.  I hope and hope and hope that it is a very long time before we have to go through that.

I love you, Tatum.  With every ounce of my heart.

Daddy.

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