Dear Sophie (a.k.a. Daddy's Girl),
The phenomena of "Thank You, Daddy" began well before the date of this letter. It started with the rail that your daddy installed a few months ago in the stairway up to our bedroom. Your daddy wanted you to have something to hold onto when you climb or descend the stairs, and he placed the rail at just the right height for your reach. The first time you ascended the steps holding on to your new rail, I told you, "Daddy made this rail for you. You should thank Daddy." You dutifully and sweetly yelled out, "Thank you, Daddy. Rail!"
Your daddy's next project was to remodel the bathroom. He extended the tile above the bath and installed a brand new shower head. After it was installed, I casually mentioned to you, "Daddy made that shower for you. Someday you'll be thankful Daddy did that." Perhaps a week later, as you were sitting on your little potty, facing your new shower, you looked up at it and said, "Thank you, Daddy. Shower!"
And so it was that you began to learn about all the things in the house that Daddy had built or made - your bed, your dresser, your bookshelf, etc. - and you thank Daddy out loud for all of those things. In fact, almost every time you take the stairs, even if Daddy is not in earshot, you yell, "Thank you, Daddy!"
Your dad and I joke that every time someone tells you you're pretty, cute, or smart, you should say, "Thank you, Mommy!" Unfortunately, that hasn't caught on quite as well as "Thank You, Daddy."
One morning about a week ago, you and I found ourselves in a predicament. Daddy was out of town for work. I had finished my morning routine to get ready and picked you up to carry you downstairs with me. I put my foot out onto the top step, and as I began to shift my weight to step down, I felt an obstacle under my foot. Junior! That crazy cat didn't budge! I stiffened up and all at once slipped down two or three steps (remaining upright but out of control). Then there was this awkward moment when my uprightness reached a tipping point and began transitioning to a face first fall down the remaining steps. In that last instant of uprightness, I thought of the stairway rail and grabbed hold, barely catching us. "Careful, Mommy," you said. I stood there for a few moments, in quiet contemplation of the trauma that was averted. "Okay, Mommy?"
My response: "Thank you, Daddy!"