Huggy, don’t cry.

“Dad!” Matthew yelled, “Maleigh just poured the clear glue into a bowl!” He was plopping himself into the truck as he griped.

Maleigh studies each step off of the porch as she descends while holding back tears. She’d already been scolded by big brother and little momma Tiny. She gets into the truck with a big brother (who is fuming at this point), sits down quietly in her car seat, puts her head in her hands and begins to cry in a way that isn’t her usual (she can win awards, my friend.)

“Huggy, that was his and you knew that.”

Her cry became more painful as she said, “I wanted to make him something special, Da-dee.”

Matthew and I immediately looked at each other, deflated. We felt her words in our heart. This little girl… Jesus. Our Huggy. What I saw was a little girl who fights for her place at the table and who always wants approval from Auggie and Tiny with her projects or feats. She wanted to make a “symbiote” slime (In the Spiderman universe there’s an alien that looks like black slime that gives you powers which Auggie digs it big time) and give her to her big brother.

A couple of mintues later I looked at Auggie and said, “I believe her, bubba.”

His face became soft and he said, “I do too Da-da.”

-I wanted to explain that we often jump to conclusions but I feel like it was understood in that moment.

Huggy was the baby before the baby. It’s easy for her to feel left out or looked over and probably why she loves hugs because that moment, a hug, is her’s alone.

This past year has been an amazing challenge. I’ve gotten closer to God and become a better Da-da (spoken like a drum beat), Daaaad (long form) and Da-Dee (It’s in Huggy speak and I can’t explain it but it flips my “yes, baby, I will move that mountain” switch when she says that which is typically after I err on the side of caution and she says, “it’s okay Da-dee, I can do it.” We’ve all gotten closer and I went into dark places at times but God has and is seeing me through, seeing us through. My joy is being Auggie’s, Tiny’s, Huggy’s and Bubby’s Deddy. My only drive is for them and then my family.

I try to see them everyday and it’s a blessing to me that I can. Most relationships don’t operate that way due to… whatever made them fail. We have fun on our days and I bring snacks on off days. It’s not what I envisioned but it’s my life right now. For a moment, it was Auggie that needed me most. Then Tiny. Now Huggy. I can only assume that it will change hands multiple times as life moves forward. Just yesterday, Huggy squeezed my neck with all her little might and cried to go with me. That’s a bittersweet pill to swallow. As with Auggie before, I have to explain carefully what and why. Huggy is almost six years old and she feels as if she has to work harder for attention or acknowledgement and she can NEVER be made to feel that way by her Deddy, her Da-Dee, or I am failing. I sometimes plan our next day in those moments trying to give them something to look forward too. Glow-in-the-dark slime it is!

Earlier that day, as soon as I parked the truck and turned off the engine she was opening the door with a smile that was bigger than she was.

“I cried today, Da-Dee,” she spoke through her smile.

“Aww, Huggy, don’t cry. Why’d you cry, baby?”

“I watched a sad video where her Daddy died. She went to college too. Please, please, please, watch it with me.”

Auggie was with us at this point.

“Darling, I don’t like sad videos. What if I start crying? We’d have a mess on our hands.” This got a good laugh out of both of them but I do make silly faces too. Cheap laughs. Still get laughs though.

With much coercing, we watched the video. She’d been watching it all day and even her Mamaw knew most of the words. Sure enough, it’s a popular song that has spoken word added to it. The little girl loses her Dad when she’s five and she visits his grave with every milestone she passes.

It was awful. I don’t like sad videos. She sat on my lap and the whole four minute song played through. What Huggy doesn’t know is my own past with my Mother… it hit way too close to home but it showed me something about my Huggy baby’s heart… she truly loves and she truly loves me. I knew she did, of course. She’s afraid she’s going to lose me somehow, someway, and then the guy that fights beside her would be gone. I tried explaining a few things about our situation and about life in general. She knows, they all know, that even when I’m gone, I won’t truly be gone. That was the last lesson my mother taught me.

It’s a fortunate thing that I have Facebook and WordPress to leave with them because it’s a no-brainer that anyone would want a loved ones words to return too.

“Don’t cry, Huggy.”

*I actually encourage crying in different situations in the case that it seems I’m against crying. That would be akin to being against sneezing. Sometimes, you just need sneeze, err… cry.

I’m rusty in the actual writing department so please forgive my first attempt back. As I wrote… Jesus… it’s been a year long year. Yep. You read that right. Hoping to get back to one a week on the rigors and joy of being the Deddy to my children. It’s truly the best part of my life and I praise God for it. Let’s rock.

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