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Unloved

She did not consider my minutes in the kitchen putting breakfast together the night before while she shared a chair with her daddy and they tapped on the ipad with pointer fingers…

Or the near hour I read aloud from Sarah Plain and Tall while she cut and smoothed and hovered over sketch paper with felt pens and her brother sorted nails in the closet.

Or the lunch, sliced and chopped and made in a flurry with my own hands and served hot in a bowl with a spoon.

Or the trust offered her as I watched from the peripheral as 1 1/2 tablespoons of yeast and 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt were dumped into the mixing bowl. Watched and praised.

She did not consider the half hour I’d stopped, hung the dish towel on the oven and saddled a stool beside hers to learn what she knew about drawing snowflakes. “Like this,” she’d said. And I had followed, studiously.

She did not consider the two-hour play-date, twenty minutes away.

Or the face-to-face instruction on her writing. And her history.

Did not consider them acts of love. Offerings of love. From me to her.

And so in bed, she scrunched beneath her covers and turned her whimpering into tears.  I’d leaned in close, bewildered. “What is it, honey?” I’d whispered. “Are you sad?”

And her lips quivered as she said, “you haven’t shown me any love for two days.”

In the dark my eyes grew bigger. “No love?” I countered. “None at all?”

“You haven’t put your arms around me,” she said.

“And she might have been right,” I thought. About my arms.

And so I did. Right then. With my back bent in half and my knees against her mattress, I rocked my girl. Rocked her with an arm scooped beneath her and an arm on top. Rocked and whispered and reminded her with my lips on her forehead how much I had loved her these last two days.

And how incredibly much I will love her tomorrow.

And every day after that.

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