I worked late tonight and came home when Alice had already been in bed for about half an hour. We could hear her burbling in there. I thought to myself, I want to see her.
I went in and she turned around to look at me. She stood up in her crib and raised her arms so I could lift her, first gathering up her blankie and her froggy and her little striped zebra and her board book about counting. Her pacifier bobbed in her mouth. I picked her up and whispered hello, and she pointed to the rocking chair behind me. I sat down and she leaned into me, her legs around my waist, resting her head against my chest. I could see her eyes closing beneath me. We rocked for a while. Hoped she could hear my heart beat. After a bit she leaned back and we made funny faces at each other, and she would laugh quietly at me. She poked at the buttons on my shirt, saying "boop," like we do. "Are you ready to get back in your crib?" She nodded.
I stood up -- her book fell to the floor and we leaned over to pick it up. She was silent as I lowered her into the crib. I walked over to the side, near the door, and squatted down so that we could share a goodnight kiss through the wooden slats. "Goodnight sweet girl, I love you." One more kiss and then she turned to her blankie. I went back into the family room. Best part of the day.