My daughter Keira says the funniest things. I have loved watching her develop and turn into this talkative and curious little 3-year-old girl. She’s like a parrot – she hears and repeats almost EVERYTHING (plus, she really likes crackers). My wife and I may say something about a TV show we like while we’re in the car and days later she’ll make reference to it. It blows us away how much she retains. We forget that she’s always in her car seat behind us or in the other room listening to our every word! It is unbelievably cute most of the time! But it can also get mommy and daddy in trouble too if we’re not careful with what we say. 🙂
I choose to say certain words and phrases to her often so she can have a better chance of remembering. For instance, when I see her do something well and I am proud of her, I’ll often tell her “That’s my big girl” or some variant of that phrase. I call her “my big girl” a lot because I know she loves it when I call her that. She smiles from ear to hear and comes and gives me a hug & kiss most of the time. She may even tell me that she loves me. As a father, there’s nothing better. It penetrates my heart and changes me. To hear my daughter tell me how she feels is such a blessing. And I love telling her how I feel about her. She’s my big girl.
One night a few months ago I was putting her to sleep. I carefully pulled back her Dora the Explorer comforter and gently placed her in her bed. She seemed sound asleep. I knelt down to give her a kiss on her forehead, but as I was backing away her little arm reached out and grabbed by left cheek and in her grogginess, in the cutest little tired voice imaginable, she slowly opened her eyes, looked at me, smiled, and said, “You’re my big girl daddy.”
My heart melted.
What we say matters, because you never know who’s listening… except for God – who always is. I’m glad my daughter reciprocated my gesture of love for her back to me that night. I think she gave me a small glimpse of what it is like for our Heavenly Father when he listens to us pray. When we connect our heart to God’s heart through prayer, we can hear Him say to us, “I love you, and nothing you could ever do could separate my love from you.” And in return, we can express our love, gratitude, to Him. What we say matters, but maybe what we say to God matters most.
(see Luke 10:27)