my sweet valentine

Brooke is sitting in Luau’s SUV inside the garage, still bundled up. Luau and Katie have run into the house momentarily, grabbing what we will need before heading out to dinner. Brooke must have asked to stay in the car.

I’ve just come in from walking Winston. It’s Friday night and I have not seen my girls since the morning.

I am nearly trembling with anticipation.

I walk to the open car door, where Brooke is perched in her booster seat. I want to scoop her in my arms. I want to scream, “It’s Friday!” I want to tell her how desperately I’ve missed her. I want to jump for joy and attack her with hugs and kisses.

I don’t.

I approach her slowly. Silently. I watch for the signals.

There are no words, but there’s a hint of a smile.

I take it as an invitation and lean in just the slightest bit.

Brooke reaches out with one hand and smoothes my hair. Again and again, she strokes the side of my head. The gesture is almost painfully gentle, overwhelmingly sweet. I can FEEL the love in her touch.

She looks at me. Right AT me. Still, to this day, this full view of her face is an unexpected gift.

“Hi, baby,” I say softly. I’m mesmerized by her eyes. “I missed you so much today.”

She says nothing, but she pulls my head down and into her chest. I submit to my girl and let her hold me the way that she needs to.

Luau yells to me from the doorway. He’s telling me something about Katie’s upcoming skating competition. Details, changes, something I need to know. I hear the sounds but not the words. He’s asking a question. I muster a “Not now,” desperately afraid that even two small words might break the trance. Please God, I beg, don’t let this moment end yet. I’m not ready to lose this.

Brooke takes my face in her hands. She slowly traces the line of my nose. Then my chin. Then my forehead.

I watch her study my face. The connection is almost too intense to bear.

A single tear runs down my cheek. Brooke cocks her head, watching, then follows the tear’s path with a long, slender finger.

Luau and Katie make their way down and noisily pile into the car.

I kiss my baby girl and linger on her cheek. She is smiling – in her way. I tell her that I’m going to close her door now. I have to get into the car too. I’m stalling.

“I love you, baby,” I say as I finally, reluctantly pull away.

She is still looking at me. Into me. Somehow, the spell has not been broken.

She issues a single word. The only one that matters.


I get into the car, full.

27 thoughts on “my sweet valentine

  1. OMG. I am shattered by the intensity and the beauty of this. I think I may have a speck (or a plank) in my eye right now. Let this Valentine carry you through your day, your week. WOW. xo

  2. Happy Valentines day Jess! I dare say it does not get better than that moment. It makes me think of when I saw my kids for the 1st time. Prefect bliss!

  3. What a moment. And I am overwhelmed by the bittersweetness here: How you need to contain your boundless love for your daughter and deliver it exactly how she needs it, in order for her to be able to accept it. How you understand that her small, gentle gestures and one word – the most important word – contain and transmit her vast ocean of love for you. Happy Valentine’s Day.

  4. Beautiful! How full your heart must have been. When the connection happens it is wonderful.
    Today is our J’s birthday…our very special Valentine gift….the ultimate love.

  5. Brooke so often delivers the gift of love to you. It never, ever, ceases to amaze me. Cherish it always from both your girls.

    Happy Valentines Day, Jess! I love you.


  6. Love, love, love this. Broke my heart with joy for you. Kudos for doing what she needs, despite what you need…ultimately rewarded with what you need! I want this too.

  7. Thank you for getting it…And writing it all down in a thoughtful and coherent way. I am always stunned when I see my daughter looking face forward in a picture or at me… How her look (when it happens) can just hit me so much.. Its one of those things that other people just don’t get. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s