A few months ago, Lila started waking up early and crawling into bed with us. We couldn't figure out why all of a sudden she was waking up so early. We tried a few things to coax a few extra hours of sleep from her, but the only thing that worked was letting her come into our bed for those morning hours. The Daddy didn't seem to mind.
Then one morning, the Husband left for work early and I woke up to Lila crying, "Daddy left! He didn't say goodbye! He didn't give me breakfast! I didn't get to hug him!" I explained he had gone to work and that he didn't want to wake her up which is why he didn't say goodbye. After much crying we decided to call him so she could say goodbye.
I listened to the her end of the conversation:
"You didn't give me breakfast."
"But you didn't hug me."
"But I miss you."
"I want you to come home."
Then she turned to me and grinned, "He's coming home."
I called him, "You're coming home?"
"Yeah. She misses me."
"Aren't you at work?"
"Honey, you don't have to come home."
"I know. I want to. She misses me."
And then about 20 minutes later he walked in the door, gave Lila a hug and kiss, made her breakfast (she wouldn't let me - she wanted him to make it) and kissed her goodbye only to drive 25 minutes back to work. I'd like to say she understood the depth of that gesture, but I doubt she did. After all, it's her Daddy - she's come to expect that kind of devotion!*
After some discussion with Lila, I realized that her early morning wake-ups were at least in part because she was trying to squeeze in some extra Daddy-time. So on days that he leaves for work before she's up, the Husband started setting up Lila's breakfast and a show for her to watch when she wakes up. This little habit has made such a difference. It's like his daily love letter to her - a message left for her by her Daddy. She literally wakes up and says, "I wonder if Daddy gave me breakfast? He did!"
This morning as I was sitting at a stoplight on the way to preschool, the Husband texted:
Then he texted, "Maybe I should pick her up from school."
And then he proceeded to plan his day around taking a late lunch so he could pick Lila up from preschool. THAT is the kind of Daddy he is. You should have seen the delight on Lila's face when he brought her home. "Mommy! Daddy picked me up from preschool!" (I love how she tells me this stuff as if I wasn't in on the plans in the first place.)
Sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if I had married someone else. I'm never more glad I married Mr. Kautzi than when I think about the kind of Daddy I gave my kids when I said "yes" to being his wife. I love you, Husband!
*I will say that she was a little bent out of shape that he wouldn't come home from work on a whim every day. That took more than a few discussions to get her to a place of acceptance that sometimes love looks like keeping your job so you can feed your children even if you would much rather be home.