One year and 303 days...

We headed to the YMCA today, to squeeze in a family swim. They heat the training pool to over 90 degrees. It is very relaxing to splash around in there with the kids. There is a lifeguard, and today there were about one hundred other children swimming. The pool is only four feet deep. It is heavily chlorinated, which is a good thing because those one hundred children never get out of the pool to use the bathroom. Meazi is a fish, and can now swim on her own. Melese splashes around, jumps into our arms from the ledge, and occasionally blows a bubble or two. It is a nice way to wrap up the weekend.

Just before five, as we were getting ready to leave, I asked Steven if he wanted to grab burritos for dinner. There is a new make-your-own burrito place that just opened in our neighborhood. The kids and I tried it last week. He said yes. In the locker room I asked Meazi if she wanted to go out to eat. As we walked to the car she said, "Dad, I really have a surprise for you, that you are going to like." He said, "Well Meazi, I have a surprise for you too." I said, "I think you guys share the same surprise- burritos."

We drove over, and Meazi discussed what she was going to choose this time, spinach tortilla, refried beans, Spanish rice. I asked Melese if he wanted a burrito and he nodded an emphatic yes. We pulled into the parking lot, hair wet, flip flops, all of us reeking of chlorine. I opened up the back to give Meazi a hand out of the car. She said, "Uppy!". "Uppy?" I said. "Ok." I picked her up. She wrapped her arms tightly around my neck, I felt a drop of water fall from her curls onto my clavicle. She put her head on my shoulder and then whispered into my ear.

She said, "You are very special to me." Tears shot out of my eyes onto my cheeks. "Oh Meazi" I said, "That is so swee..." She cut me off, "You all are, you, daddy and Melese. You are all very special to me."

It was the nicest thing she has ever said to me. I know that she loves me, but this was different. This was not a rote, "I love you," following one that I said to her. This was different. I said, "Meazi, tell daddy what you just said." She got embarrassed and asked me to tell him. So I did. We got burritos.

In the one year and 303 days that I have known her, I'd have to say that this may have been my most favorite moment.

But maybe she just really likes burritos.

Later of course, Steven and I decided that it sounded like something a teacher would have said to her. My moment of pure attachment-happy-joy turned into, "Which of her teachers told her that?" Then, because I am apparently still a misanthropic cynic who fears the worst, I wondered which creepy adult told her that so he could molest her.


At least for that split second...pure joy.
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