I spoke soothingly, “Did you have a bad dream?”
“It’s okay baby, you’re bubba is here,” I assured him, as I rubbed his back. His crying quieted and I could see he was starting to drift off.
Then, just before dozing back off, he brought his face forward and kissed my chest. I smiled and was overwhelmed by a mix of emotions. Tears rolled down my cheeks.
In that moment I felt whole, that I could be the father he needed, and simultaneously I felt the loss of my father, who passed just a couple years ago. I also felt the gratitude from my little man and knew that, despite typical two-year-old behavior, he was becoming the kind of person I’d hoped he would.
Every day is an adventure that I look forward to.