Wearing Her Heart on Her Sleeve

What do you want Daddy to bring you from New York? I said to her as I laid her down in bed to sleep, hours before I would be on a flight for work travel.

A heart, came the reply. A big one with sparkles and glitter and that’s shiny!

2000px-I_Love_New_York.svgMy kid first got on this heart kick nearly a year ago. Last Christmas all she wanted from Santa was a heart. So she got a small jewelry box she could decorate and glue and paint little hearts all over it. She loved it.

Whenever we ask her what she wants, it’s usually a heart. (Except this year she wants Santa to bring her a baseball bat. Proud Dad moment right there.)

It’s hard to reason with a three-year-old. Or to even get to the root cause of things. Unless, of course, you like babble, non-sequiters, blatant lies and the willingness to talk about Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

We hear stories all the time about how some girl in her daycare kicked her in the face. Which is either ridiculous, or awesome because my daughter doesn’t come home with bruises. She would be more like Bruce Lee and not Bruised Lee.

Or we’ll ask why she did something and get a non-answer. Or if she wants to be “good Ella” or “bad Ella.” Except once she said I want to be bad Ella and I immediately thought she was going to be riding on the back of some guy’s Harley when she was 16. These are the kinds of things that you deal with as a protective dad with a daughter. It’s only going to get worse, I know.

Except with the heart thing, I finally got an answer out of her a few months ago.

Hey, kiddo, why do you always want hearts? What’s up with that?

Because a heart means ‘I love you.’

World. Turned.

It’s these moments in time that, as a parent, just strike you. How does this little bundle of emotions wrapped in a 35-pound body figure all that out? And how does she just want love? That’s all that matters to her.

Like Lennon said: All we need is love.

My kid gets that.

Perhaps I should ask her about the 2016 Presidential election because that’s pretty effing messy and she may just have the answers that no pundits or political correspondents can figure out.

Picture this: Wolf Blitzer saying And now we go to Southern California where Ella Hurst has all the answers about the 2016 election. And they zoom in on her drinking milk and coloring.

So, my child wanted me to bring her a heart home from New York? Easy enough – just one of those I [heart] NY shirts or something. Problem solved.

Except this morning the love was gone when I talked to her. Daddy, I want you to bring me home a stuffed Statue of Liberty doll.

Crap. She doesn’t want to feel loved anymore. Except, out of the blue, she said I miss you, Daddy.

How do you do it, kid?

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