I tell our daughter to marry a man who can cook. At six, the reliability of her acquiescence is suspect, but you lead by example, standing over the bubbling pot and steaming cast iron, tongs in one hand, wooden spatula in the other. A kitchen towel has been tossed over one shoulder, and you stand in bare feet -- one resting, tilted, on the ankle of the other.
She spends more time with me, and so I know you think she loves me more. But she loves you like I do: completely, carelessly, sometimes thoughtlessly, because we believe in you like C.S. Lewis believed in the sun: not only because we see it, but because by it we see everything else. The world would not be the world without you in it. How could she watch you take the glasses off my face to wipe away the smudges and not fall in love?
I see you in her. I'm sure you see yourself too... just as I see the blemish on my face in the mirror before my features have even come into focus. But she reflects more than our flaws. I see you in her laugh. In her righteousness and self-sufficiency when she walks away from the charismatic bully on the playground. In her bravery and loyalty when she tells her friends she will keep them safe in the deep water on the beach. In the certainty of her moral compass and her choice of over-easy eggs for breakfast.
You tell our daughter to take care of me when you're not around. One evening, as I walked home with her, she told me to look at the moon. It's almost full, she said. I looked, but being taller, couldn't see it behind a tree branch.
Don't worry, she said, I'll run to the end of the street. The moon always follows me. I'll bring it where you can see it.
I didn't tell her that the moon seems to follow anyone who looks. So much easier to explain, don't worry, Daddy already moved it for me.