A little more than three years ago I introduced you to “Sweet Pea” (my daughter Ellie).
I began calling her Sweet Pea a few weeks into the pregnancy when I realized she was about the size of a pea.
As I watched my wife’s pregnancy progress, I joyfully envisioned the various stages of my daughter’s development in the womb.
It was obvious to me the moment that I learned we were expecting that there would soon be a new little person in our house.
It was months later that I would realize that the new little person would play a major role in every decision I make for the rest of my life.
Ellie’s third birthday is approaching soon, having been born shortly before Christmas.
I like to write a column about Ellie near her birthday.
This is also my chance to share a few personal thoughts with you.
I heard the most beautiful sound on earth again a few days ago.
I was sitting in the overstuffed rocking chair holding my soon-to-be three-year-old daughter as we prepared for her bedtime.
She has made it through three years with only a few tantrums, a modicum of whining, occasional bossiness and millions of joyous moments of discovery and growth.
She has begun to enter the “I love Daddy” phase.
He favorite doctor, “Dr. Dunk” (Eastham), told me a couple of years ago that about the time she turns 3 years old, I would suddenly be her best friend.
At the time and until recently, Momma was always her preferred companion.
Don’t get me wrong, she loved her daddy, but when something really mattered, it was Momma that she turned to.
It has been our ritual for the past three years for me to give Ellie her bath then she would play for a little while before I would take her to bed.
This is the most precious time of my day.
I have given her more than a thousand baths now, and made up hundreds of stories to tell each night.
My daughter is likely the only person on this planet that actually likes to hear me sing.
She often asks me to sing “Ellie’s song.”
This is a song that only she and I know the words to, because I made it up just for her bedtime.
The sound that was so sweet last week was when I kissed her good night.
“I’m very proud of you my little darling. I love you very much,” I said just as I laid her in her bed.
“I love you too, Daddy, and I’m so proud of you,” she replied in the softest, most sincere voice I have ever heard.
There has never been a more precious conversation than that.
How can such a simple phrase uttered by a sweet child create such an awesome feeling?
Children add a dimension to life that is unmatched.
At this time of year it is especially evident that children help us realize the important things in life.
Caring for others.
As I watch Ellie play with her toys and stuffed animals, I often see her gently wrap them up, cuddle them and coo, “That’s alright. Everything’s OK.”
This simple gesture reminds me that it is a natural tendency of people to care for others.
Often we suppress this natural tendency to care for others.
We hesitate due to concern about being intrusive, not knowing how to help, avoiding inconvenience for ourselves or other reasons.
Sometimes it is actually wise to hesitate.
Unfortunately, there are people that devise schemes and scams to take advantage of our good nature.
But overall, I think we all enrich ourselves by yielding to that instinct to help our neighbors as well as strangers.
Whenever I witness a spontaneous act of kindness toward another, I am often left with the impression that it is the Good Samaritan that benefits the most.
Consider making a New Year’s resolution to look for a way to reach out to help others on a regular basis.
Ellie and I will be so proud of you, and you will be proud of yourself.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Dr. Mark Kestner