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Dad, Go Ahead and Cry

She slipped her small, soft eight-year-old hand into mine. Her face was lit up with joy. And as my daughter took my hand and moved closer to me, I lost control of my emotions.

Tears of joy ran down my face, right in the middle of the church where my daughter was having her first communion. Right in the middle of many of our family members, who had come to support her.

As she sat there in her white dress and veil, she seemed an angel to me. And when I saw the joy in her eyes, I was no match for it. The tears just came.

There's no manual that comes for us in moments like this. They simply grab you and take you where they want. I sat there, wrestling with a number of conflicting thoughts and emotions. Would my daughter or other family members be embarrassed? After all, I'm a man! We're supposed to control our emotions, right? Part of me wanted to have the freedom to cry freely without judgment. But mostly, the feeling that overcame me was one of pure joy and gratitude.

Here I was with a loving, supportive family, seeing my daughter go through an important rite of passage, and seeing her immense excitement and joy. Sharing that moment with her made everything in my life feel worthwhile. It made all the hardships of raising children seem insignificant. I felt as fortunate as anyone on earth. Why was I chosen to receive all these blessings? It was the kind of moment that we don't have enough of, and the kind of moment that fathers don't always embrace as strongly as they could.

This kind of moment is what most of us live for, whether we know it or not. The moment in which our heart takes over. The moment that brings us the closest to pure love, when we see our child as an amazing gift from God.

On this day, the vision of my daughter snuggled next to me was etched in my mind forever.

Later, after the celebration was over, we arrived at home to begin business-as-usual. I thought about the many projects that I'd neglected to start. The garden, the lawn, and the inside of the house all screamed my name. I felt that familiar sense of having too many things to do, and too little time.

And then I remembered the moment with my daughter again, knowing that it could never be taken away from us. I knew then that the decision about which project to start wasn't really important. In fact, it didn't matter that much if I started any of them at all.

What was really important was keeping my heart open, for the next "moment."

Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC, coaches busy parents by phone to balance their life and improve their family relationships. For a FREE twenty minute sample session by phone; ebooks, courses, articles, and a FREE newsletter, go to http://www.markbrandenburg.com. or email him at mark@markbrandenburg.com.

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